Canadian charities concerned about poor aid flow to flood-hit Pak

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Toronto, Aug.17 (ANI): Coordinators for a four-member humanitarian aid coalition have expressed their distress over the poor inflow of funds to aid flood victims in Pakistan.

So far, this coalition of charities has received only 200,000 dollars, which is insignificant when a comparison is made with the 3.5 million dollars collected for victims of the January 13, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

"It's really low compared to the needs," the Globe and Mail quoted Nick Moyer, co-ordinator of a humanitarian coalition comprised of Care Canada, Save the Children, Oxfam Canada and Oxfam-Quebec, as saying.

"After Haiti, everyone mobilized, there was no question. When there are questions hanging in the air, it makes it harder to fundraise," he added.he big question is why international funds have been so slow to come for the ongoing crisis in Pakistan, which has left at least 1,600 dead, displaced millions and threatened the volatile country's economic stability.

"Waves of flood must be met with waves of support from the world. I'm here to urge the world to step up assistance," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during a recent visit to the flood-ravaged region.

Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said it is not just the type of natural disaster that has stifled people's generosity.

"We note often an image deficit with regards to Pakistan among Western public opinion," she told reporters.

Representatives of Canada's humanitarian network said there are many interconnected issues at play that could be preventing people from donating.

Moyer said distance, culture and language all play a role.

He said Pakistan is several time zones away, affecting the flow of information out of the country, and does not share a common language with Canada, as Haiti does.

He acknowledged that political considerations are also influencing donors. Donations are always slower when natural disasters occur in war-torn nations, he added.

"You have the fact that they're so close to Afghanistan and Canada's fighting in Afghanistan," he said.

"I think that in people's minds those two places are linked, for good or bad," he added.

Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada, said: "There are questions about the government and that does raise doubts. One of our challenges is to help people understand we have staff on the ground, we're not sitting there waiting for a government plan." (ANI)

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