Pakistan's 'image deficit' hurting aid funds flow: UN

Published: August 16, 2010
Flood survivors evacuate the flooded area of Pathan Wala. PHOTO: AFP

Flood survivors evacuate the flooded area of Pathan Wala. PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA: Relief agencies are having trouble obtaining funds to help millions of Pakistan flood victims as the country suffers from an “image deficit”, a UN spokeswoman said Monday.

“We note often an image deficit with regards to Pakistan among Western public opinion,” said Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“As a result, Pakistan is among countries that are poorly financed, like Yemen,” she added.

The Unied Nations has been struggling to obtain $460 million to provide emergency aid to six million victims of the country ravaged by heavy flooding. Only a fifth of the required funds have been pledged since the appeal was launched on August 11.

Melanie Brooks, spokeswoman of the humanitarian group Care International stressed that the UN must explain to donor states that “the money is not going to go to the hands of the Talibans.”

“The victims are the mothers, the farmers, children. But in the past, information linked to Pakistan has always been linked to Talibans and terrorism,” she said.

According to authorities, around a quarter of the country which extends over 800,000 square kilometres (308,880 square miles) and counts 167 million inhabitants, have been affected by the floods.

The UN said billions would be needed in the long term to reconstruct the villages, infrastructure and harvests devastated by the floods.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • Hamood
    Aug 16, 2010 - 6:49PM

    And who is to be blamed for that? The Western media. The Western media had made up its mind about Pakistan a long time ago, even before 9/11 that anything positive coming out of Pakistan is not newsworthy. Whereas they all seem to relish reporting everything negative however small.Recommend

  • Ali Haider
    Aug 16, 2010 - 7:08PM

    So much for fighting the terrorists!!!Recommend

  • Adeel Saya
    Aug 16, 2010 - 7:48PM

    Sad but trueRecommend

  • Aali Zaidi
    Aug 16, 2010 - 8:33PM

    We have always asked international financial help by portraying us, that we need financial help to combat terrorism,, This major flaw of our image building policy is firing us back..
    Still our biggest strenght are the people of pakistan.. we should never forget this.Recommend

  • Yusaf Khan
    Aug 16, 2010 - 10:32PM

    My friends – while any donations from the West are welcome but at the end of the day it is going to be us, the ordinary people of Pakistan that have to unite and help each other in overcoming this catastrophe. I know in my heart that if we formulate a unified effort and own the relief effort we will create a much better Pakistan.Recommend

  • Umayr Masud
    Aug 16, 2010 - 10:42PM

    I dont think that this is a factor in the low amount of AID we are getting. Lets be honest, internationally people dont pledge money to Government of Pakistan, they rather give it to Aid organizations like International Red Cross , Oxfam etc etc. Those agencies are reliable enough but they are not getting a good response either. People around the world are in a financial crunch as well .. plus the people who actually give aid have since 2004 pouring their hearts out.Recommend

    Aug 16, 2010 - 11:23PM

    We can only rely on ourselves. We can’t expect others to be the champion of our cause. Recommend

  • Adriana
    Aug 16, 2010 - 11:34PM

    “image deficit”? Seriously? That’s the best “politically correct” way you found to say “racism”, “global structural discrimination”, “Greed”, and “Ignorance”? Sure, it’s the people – specifically those in the above image fleeing their homes – who need to be blamed for your “skewed perception”.Recommend

  • Amish
    Aug 17, 2010 - 1:10AM


    May be you should ask these questions to other muslim countries. Grow up.Recommend

  • Tahir
    Aug 17, 2010 - 1:25AM

    What a polite way of saying that no one wants to help us, I guess this is what comes of constantly going around the world and asking for loans and aid to prevent the rise of the Taliban, a monster of our own making, lest anyone forget.

    Also the buffoons in charge don’t have a clue about ‘optics’…going to ask for aid and help in chartered jets and entourages full of Mercedes Benz’s doesn’t really give the image that your country is desperate.

    Plus as someone pointed out, where the money is going to go is a huge concern, the government simply and clearly lacks the ability to use the funding efficiently. Just think the Govt of Punjab had seven days to prepare before the floods hit, yet was unable to take any effective measures to prepare in terms of setting up relief camps pre-facto ensuring presence of water, food, shelter, medicines e.t.c. Ditto for Govt of Sindh which had two weeks to prepare. Recommend

  • UZMA
    Aug 17, 2010 - 4:00AM

    MY question is that who is responsible ,,,,,OUR SO CALLED LEADERS,,,,OUR OWN LACK OF TRUST,,,,,,,OR WESTREN MEDIA ?Recommend

  • Aug 17, 2010 - 9:13AM

    When the gold is rustic what should iron do. When the UN spokesperson is adding fuel to fire then what should others do about it. It is not the right way to explain that why they couldn’t get enough resources to get people helped. But once again they are just giving lame excuses that the reason is Pakistan. We should pay attention on such type of expressions. We have to thank those who are helping us in the hour of need. Image will be better and we have to prove it.Recommend

  • Aristo
    Aug 17, 2010 - 10:04AM

    Out of the 196 countries of the world, the western media apparently has an agenda to malign Pakistan only, ever wondered why?

    It is so convenient to point the finger at others for all of our own ills. This has rather become a national past time for us Pakistanis. Everyone needs to look deep down inside his/her own self and get rid of the filth filled inside us, if we wish to get out of this mess.Recommend

  • Aug 17, 2010 - 10:39AM

    I am sorry to hear that the common people have to suffer because of the lack of faith in the leaders of the country. I wish there was some way that the common people could be helped directly.

    My heart goes out to the millions of people affected by these floods. My country too suffers from these periodically. Over the years governments and NGO’s have developed expertise to tackle these. Yet, nature sure has the last laugh sometimes. Our people and government are ready and willing to help with lot more but, as yet government of Pakistan has not decided on the initial offer. India is best placed to help because geographically, culturally we are the closest. We do care. And we pray daily for your well being.Recommend

  • witness
    Aug 17, 2010 - 11:20AM

    I am trying to send some aid to the needy people but i dont trust your govt.I am sure it will help them and strengthen their pockets further .Is there any means I can get directly in touch with the Eidi foundation so that I am sure my money could go to the right kind of people.

  • yousaf
    Aug 17, 2010 - 12:00PM

    this means everyone in the world knows about our rulersRecommend

  • zubair
    Aug 17, 2010 - 1:58PM

    yar we cant go there in that areas n can save them but we can help them by……..sending some aids those effective people….Recommend

  • Aug 17, 2010 - 3:11PM

    We can keep blaming others but the only way forward is to start helping ourselves and to rise to the occasion like we always have in the past. A comprehensive list of how to help flood victims nationally and internationally. Recommend

  • saleem
    Aug 17, 2010 - 6:15PM

    If the world doesn’t support us, the world loses us and I think this time for ever.Recommend

  • Lady X
    Aug 17, 2010 - 6:30PM

    When your poster boy is “ZARDARI & Co.” the image will stink.Recommend

  • faraz
    Aug 17, 2010 - 11:05PM

    Obviously we are the global hub of terrorism, every terrorist attack anywhere in the world is traced back to pakistan.Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Aug 18, 2010 - 1:41AM

    Trust deficit is not something new which we are facing. Let us check our all previous governments both in Uniform and Mufti. It is time for all who matter to gel together and do something for the affected population. Some Politicians and Media Houses are out their only to discredit its own rulers as if they have come from some other Planet. The main problem here is that we have never looked into building our Civil Infrastructure and if even in some areas we did something it has all been exposed in these floods. Why don’t we equip our Civil Defense with all necessary equipment and personnel???? There was a time when some even threatened to wage war against our neighbor on Water distribution. Now we have water all around us, do we have any dams to store if something again happens of similar kind or lesser. Why are we all playing on Yes Dam No Dam. It is time to be realistic and do some over all planning so as to meet these types of eventualities in a better way.Recommend

  • smak
    Aug 20, 2010 - 1:00PM

    Madam UN!!!!
    For God sake, stop playing with slogans.Humanity is in crises.Millions of lives are at life-threat situation.Infants, kids are dying. Thousands of women are pregnant. The UN need to see what best possible can be quickly contributed to help out the deprived and worse-effected by the biggest natural calamity. HOW MANY LIVES WE ALL TOGETHER CAN SAVE. THIS IS THE QUESTION.

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