Monday, 24 October 2005

Disaster Fatigue, but remember Pakistan

It's been barely over two weeks since a natural disaster which in most ordinary years would be the deadliest of the year. The enormity of the tragedy, though, took a few days to impinge on my consciousness, and then I was off for a week to attend a high school reunion, and realized just this week that the whole event had slipped my mind.

Over 80,000 confirmed dead, hundreds of thousands homeless, disaster relief the most difficult ever, and it had slipped my mind? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with our media? Did someone make an executive decision that Americans were just too fatigued by disaster, and we would spare them the 'hype' of this particular set of unfortunates?

I just scanned the major news outlets on the web, and most of them don't even have a link from the front news page related to this tragedy. Sure Wilma is bearing down on Florida, and deserves the top spot right now, but over a dozen other stories are sharing its headlines, while this deadly quake has been shoved to a scant mention and link on the World page. If I recall the tsunami remained front page news for weeks, yet here with a tragic dearth of emergency response, the major news media seem to be choosing to just skip this inconvenient tragedy.

A recent diary by media girl at DailyKos decries the lack of attention being paid to this by bloggers as well. Well, it's not too late to help, so let's get creative and think of ways to challenge others to dig deep, even as we challenge ourselves to do the same.

I know I am suffering from donation fatigue myself this year, with the tsunami, West Africa and Southern Africa famine, and Katrina already making this a record donation year for me. But Mercy Corps and other relief agencies are still out there ready to turn our cash into relief, so I am recommitting myself to fundraising for Pakistan two or three times as much as I shelled out myself for tsunami relief. If your company matches your donations, and you are not already at the limit of what they will match, I urge you to dig deep yet again and be a part of alleviating this suffering.

1 comment:

-epm said...

Yes. I suppose there is a bit of disaster fatigue setting in with regard to catastrophic events around the world. Saddly, I suppose that's to be expected. As disasters become more commonplace they loses their shock value, not unlike news of corrupt politicians, the incomrehensible hights of the national debt, or the number of homicides committed daily.

Perhaps it is a test of our compassion that we quietly perservere in our charity dispite the lack of urgency to do so from our national leaders, both political and social.