Lack Of International Attention, Donor Fatigue Contribute To Funding Shortfalls For Humanitarian Assistance

The Guardian: The global focus on storm Harvey shows not all suffering is seen as equal
Simon Tisdall, assistant editor of the Guardian

“The suffering caused to tens of thousands of people in Texas and Louisiana by tropical storm Harvey is not to be underestimated. But in terms of scale and human cost, it pales in comparison with many worldwide disasters — both recent and ongoing, natural and manmade — that have received less international attention. The extreme flooding that hit India, Nepal, and Bangladesh (and now Pakistan) … has affected an estimated 40 million people and claimed about 1,200 lives so far, according to the most recent reports. And that is not the half of it. … Yet international attention, or the lack of it, is not always a factor. … [D]onor fatigue appears to have set in. … One reason why this year’s funding shortfall is so severe is the unprecedented level of demand. But another may be political pressure to cut foreign aid budgets in the west. In Britain, calls to slash overseas humanitarian assistance have been growing, while Donald Trump has proposed U.S. aid budget cuts … If approved, Trump’s plans would amount to a 32 percent reduction in U.S. civilian foreign affairs spending at a moment of exceptional global need” (8/31).