Why Many Pakistani-Americans Aren’t Sending Flood Donations Home

Ron Scherer, Christian Science Monitor, August 18, 2010

Many of the Pakistani-Americans who live in ethnically diverse Jackson Heights, Queens, are saddened by the flooding in their homeland and even have relatives among the displaced.

But, despite family ties, many aren’t giving to the relief effort because they simply don’t trust the Pakistani government.

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Whether the corruption allegations are true or not, perceptions that money would be wasted is one reason relief organizations say contributions for flood victims are way down.

“There has been a tepid response, it is down significantly from other disasters of recent times,” says Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a Glen Rock, N.J., evaluator of charities. “There could be a host of different reasons–from donor fatigue to people not feeling comfortable because of their concerns about terrorism.”

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Although some people may not give because of their concerns about corruption, he says those same concerns existed for Haiti, where contributions after January’s earthquake far outpaced the rate of giving in the aftermath of Pakistan’s flooding.

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On Thursday, the slow giving is one reason why Hillary Clinton will visit the United Nations for a General Assembly plenary session on the humanitarian situation in Pakistan. Last week, the UN appealed for pledges of $460 million. The US responded with a pledge of $90 million but other nations have been slower, says Mr. MacSorley [Dominic MacSorley, the operations director of Concern Worldwide].

For example, MacSorely says 10 days after the earthquake hit Haiti, there were pledges equal to $495 for each person affected by the disaster. So far, he says there have been pledges of $3 for each person affected by the flooding.

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