The stories from Pakistan you're not being told

I've been watching the media coverage of the Pakistan floods with growing frustration. With 20m homeless, this has been one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of the decade, yet seems to be less important to the world than whether an Islamic center is built in New York or exactly how much money Tiger Woods lost in his divorce.  We're talking 20 MILLION people. It as if
 the entire populations of London and New York had to abandon their homes, and no one thought it was a big deal.

And when the story is covered, the public response often appears to be:  So what. We can't help anyway. They can't be trusted.  Donations toward relief from the US are a tiny fraction of what went to Haiti or the 2004 tsunami, despite the fact that more people have been made homeless in Pakistan than those two tragedies combined.  (Yes, the death toll is lower. But do we give to the dead or to the living?)
For the next two weeks, I will devote this blog to a different kind of story from Pakistan. Stories of what's happening directly on the ground. Stories of insight and ingenuity, generosity and heroism.  Pakistan has the world's sixth highest population (170m) and more than a quarter of the country has been deluged. Its people are resourceful and compassionate. There's an incredible effort on the ground, often led by Pakistanis, that we need to know more about.  If these stories are told, it will chip a hole in the monotone narrative so much of America and the west has adopted of "Pakistan = danger".
So, here's my appeal. If you've been involved in the Pakistani relief efforts and have a story you can personally vouch for, please email it to  It should ideally:
- be about an action taken by an individual or individuals that has made a difference
- perhaps a tale of insight, ingenuity, generosity or heroism 
- include a picture or video (that we would have permission to publish)
- be less than 500 words. 100-200 words is ideal.
- unless there are specific reasons not to, please include names, dates, locations
If you want to just tell the story on video, that's fine too. Keep it to less than 3 mins.
My scribe Jane Wulf and I will post these stories here on this blog, and highlight them on Twitter. We'll also cross-post them to this existing wonderful resource devoted to the flood.

Please help spread the word on this.  And check back in for the results. We hope to publish at least a couple of stories every day.  It's a critical time in Pakistan. The flood waters are starting to recede, but a public health crisis could explode at any moment, and a daunting rehabilitation process lies ahead. As a matter of basic humanity, we should all be helping.
Chris Anderson • TED Curator • • "Ideas Worth Spreading"

Pakistan Flood Story #1: Three Rented Vehicles
Pakistan Flood Story #2: The Rotaract Club of Karachi Karsa
Pakistan Flood Story #3: An entrepreneur takes action.
Pakistan Flood Story #4: What was recreation becomes a lifesaver.
Pakistan Flood Story #5: My first day visiting Pakistan flood victims
Pakistan Flood Story #6: Setting up a refugee camp - a photo essay
Pakistan Flood Story #7: After dramatic bridge collapse, villagers construct ingenious chairlift
Pakistan flood story #8: Day 2. Video snapshots of what it's like to be trapped 

76 responses
Thanks Chris. Appreciate it.
Thank you!
Thank you Chris !! Wish more would be aware of this :)
We completely agree, this tragedy is epic. When you look at the whole history of this disaster, the raw footage and the toll on human life, you have to be pretty hard-hearted not to feel compelled to help. Especially on the 5 year anniversary of Katrina and the impact that flooding had on New Orleans.

If nothing else moves you, imagine the children who will drink tainted water and the disease that will spread across borders when they become refugees.

Here's a real time stream of videos update from sources around the web on the topic. We updated when new videos are posted so it is a great way to see the chronology of this horrible natural disaster.

This is excellent! Well done Chris
Chris, can't thank you enough for taking up this initiative. I will be sharing my observations with you soon.
May God bless you
This is a brilliant initiative Chris. Thanks for putting this up.
What about Pakistan??? Great initiative!
I may not say much about the relief effort, but I'm open to share a story about the largest fundraiser that was solely organized by a group of students including myself - we raised around $21,000, and all that money is gone to charity.

This is coming from a student who helped to organize it, and I'm more than willing to share details about it (photos, comments, and even a short video).

Yasser, please do end your story to Thank you - Jane Wulf / TED Scribe
Thanks Chris....looking forward to the stories.
Hi Chris and Jane

Will send it in at the earliest!

Yasser Masood

Is there something, anything, that the average person with an average income can do to help?
Cathy - here is a link to a list of local organizations you can trust : - Jane
Thank you so much for this. I was thinking whether I'm only imagining that the media coverage is so much less this time, but apparently others noticed it too. Even on Etsy there is almost no action to help now, whereas there was an amazing effort for Haiti. So we started the action by opening a shop for Pakistan. I hope others will follow.

I will be watching this place to see the stories. Thanks again !!

A brilliant initiative - I would like to fully support your appeal to draw attention of the world community to the suffering of the millions of Pakistanis on the ground.

Awab Alvi

It's always more effective to learn about Pakistan via the colonial editorialising of a Westerner than by reading Pakistani blogs.

Please don't ever again confuse the obsessions of American media chattering classes with 'The World'. Just because some idle rich person in New York deems it important don't assume that you speak for a shanty-dweller in Naroibi or a sheep farmer in Peru. Remember, USA constitues less than 5% of the World. And be very cautious in ever using the phrase 'The World' again. You're very patronising

Gert, perhaps you could share some of those links to Pakistani blogs here. Jane Wulf / TED Scribe
Cathy: Architecture for Humanity's Pakistan chapter has been doing some great stuff too.
we've been flooding them with aid money even before the flood hit them, and all they've used it on is to fund the afghan taliban to keep us mired in afghanistan. they can help themselves out for once.
Thank you Chris!
Thank you so much for people like you. #Pakistan #PKFloods
Can't thank you enough, Chris. Just can't thank you enough.
Thank you thank you thank you! Please let us know also everything and anything we can do to help!
This is fantastic Chris.
Good to see non-Pakistanis highlighting the tragedy our country is going through. You are exemplary Chris. Well done!
Would you give money to a person to buy a gun and shoot you? No sane person would. Logical response is only 1% people in Pakistan are bad rest are good people like everywhere else. But how will your aid to the powerful people prevent it from being used by the ISI to hire more guns. (26/11 in India). So what's the solution
1. Give no money - Very Impractical
2. Give money - Rarely useful
3. Write about it - Makes you a hero and hits the emotional chords - Still not useful
4. Go down there and help - Practical but seldom done.

People want to give advice, coz it's free. Would you think about giving relief aid to Al-Qaeda if let's say Osama and his people were trapped in Floods. No USA wouldn't do that. Think about it.

Chris, I have been so fortunate to be invited to work in Pakistan a number of times in the last decade and it has become one of my favorite places to work. Wonderfully intelligent, caring, accepting and tolerant people - that's the friends I have made on each trip there. Every time anyone speaks out to remind those of us predominantly listening to the European and North American media that most all Pakistani people are NOT terrorists is wonderful. Thank you.
Chris, I thank you for bringing to light this major crisis in Pakistan. We could use the support of the international community in these times - instead of hate mongering, that seems to be all the rage these days.
fantastic initiative Chris!
Why Pakisthan hesitated to accept the help from India?
May God bless you chris.
Pakistan has the sixth largest population, Haiti does not.

Pakistan has enough resources to maintain itself, Haiti does not.

Pakistan spends more on sponsoring terrorism than on the welfare of its people, Haiti does not.

How in the world are you drawing a parallel between Pakistan and Haiti?

I have full sympathy to Pakistani people who are suffering because of this great tragedy. But I don't trust Pakistani Govt. You pay them at one hand and they pass it on to terrorists and kashmiri militants from the other hand. Think about it, why people are hesitating to donate money to Pakistan. Sure, I am okay with helping those people, but I am not okay with the fact that the money I donate today will fund a bomb blast in my city tomorrow. I would like to help, but through UN. Pak Govt. should not get a single cent of mine. Once this is assured, I will donate for sure.
Abhijeet, here is a link to a list of local organizations you can trust: - Jane Wulf / TED Scribe
Great initiative Chris. Thank you
AR Rafiq
Thanks for focusing on the floods in Pakistan. It really is a great initiative..

Mahera Omar
Co-Founder, Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Following FB link shows the Relief Efforts from the Youth of Pakistan:!/pages/Friends-of-Humanity-Pakistan/136765896366618?ref=ts


Thanks. Chris. You revive my faith in humanity. To my dear Indian friends, for once stop viewing everything from the narrow lens of perceptions built by the constant nonsense spewed by the media. It is the same in Pakistan about India.

For once, see a honest effort by someone to help without drowning it with cynicism.

Tragedies can strike anywhere and hubris will not help when they do.

This is fantastic. There is so much going on at individual level that television is unable to cover. I am sure a lot of people will have much to share and to inspire others to do the same.
Thanks Chris, your efforts are greatly appreciated. The majority of the west may not be interested but a few people like you supercede them by far.
Thank you Chris for actually trying to bring isolated efforts on one page. The scale is huge and as such no one action is big enough but perhaps together it will heal our souls.
Excellent Initiative we need to Empower the Youth to come forward & provide relief to their fellow bothers & sisters in this time of need.
Thank you so much for drawing the world's attention to Pakistan's crisis...
Hi Chris.
Its good to read what your heart says and here's wishing more power to you. What MobisherLive has to say is exactly what we need that is empowerment but not restricted to youth alone. As a Bioenvironmental worker I have many things to share from Governance/ Delivery mechanisms; Alternate Financing Methods, Direct Empowerment; Sustainable Development Action Plans; Low-Cost Earthquake & Tsunami/ Flood proof, super insulated homes, Rapid Micro Industrialization, Pollution Control for Alternate Energy, Agri/ Horticultural Eco Safe Yields Enhancement and so on. We need a forum to express ourselves and get positive feedback. Unfortunately we look to others to sort out our problems and not within ourselves. Imagine if we could combine local and global action to make a new world. As the Poet of the East, Allama Iqbal, said, Create a new Morn, a new Eve! My way is that of the Faqirs (The poor in God) and not that of riches. Do not sell your immortal souls, make a name for yourself in poverty!
We are working on donations every day at Dailykos ... here is a diary about what my brother-in-law and family are doing for relief efforts

The latest Dkos dairy on the subject,000-dead...
/>and a list of all the past diaries

blog post about the youth of Pakistan doing work
Pakistani Youth Participating in Flood Relief
Activities<http: />

(some of these kids have FB pages where they are uploading their pictures of the work that they are doing)

Google "Shehzad Roy Flood" - his is a Pakistani pop star and you'll see what work he's been doing

Also google "Imran Khan Cricket Flood" he's a famous cricketer now politician who has been working relief efforts

Laal Band (Pakistani band) just put out a video about the flood

Dawn (Pakistani newspaper) list of donation centers inside the country

This is a great initiative. Thanks for putting this up.
Thank fir drawing attention of world towards Pakistan!
Great initiative......please do let me know, being an educated Pakistani how can I be helpful?
The Indian friends need to put a sock in their chatter box as this is not the place for it. Probably another website to highlight how Pakistan is putting up with the terrorist attacks and suffering heavy losses within the country can shut up their brainless propaganda machine which in the process is trying to hush up for their blatant human rights violations. Hint: over 90,000 killings of innocent Kashmiris, subjugation of 10 Mn people wanting right of self determination with 700,000 armed troops, and creating unrest in Pakistan through funding the terrorist networks.
Anwar, several of the organizations mentioned in the blog postings are eager for volunteers, and they're all need funding. Many government or international donations are tied down with bureaucracy. Met some great volunteers today from the Citizens Foundation based in Karachi helping put up tents. Hope you can find a way to help.
Thank you, Chris. A great way to help is compiling info that gets forgotten, even after being massively shared. That's the job a curator.
Thank you, Chris. A great way to help is compiling info that gets forgotten, even after being massively shared. That's the job a curator.
Thank you.
I really think we need to start knitting all efforts together so we can make a big noise every where and get Pakistan noticed.

Your welcome.
Awesome, awesome article. The stories from #pakistan you're not seeing covered in the news. #pkfloods
I'm not sure how my last comment ended up here ... I must have mixed up an email conversation with something that was going to be posted.

any way
"Devastation beyond one's belief" (Survivors_the campaign)

Help Pakistan facebook group!/pages/Help-Pakistan/137673326268441

Thanks Chris. I hope more people hear you.
Thank you Chris. It is a brilliant initiative.
I wish to inform you and your readers that we, Pakistani students and young professionals in EU, are running flood relief efforts (notably, sending significant quantities of supplies containing food packs, medicines, clothes, utility items and tents to our association members in Pakistan) under the banner of our registered association in France. APPEC - Association of Pakistanis for Promotion of Education and Cooperation.
Here's more on our ongoing efforts:
Paris, France.
Dear Chris
Brilliant work. And it has brought so many of us on the same platform.
Check out the work being done by Karachi Relief.
They are among other things trying to solve the clean drinking water problem. And may help in bridge building and housing in the Munda Headworks area, Muzzaffargarh and Southern Pakistan.
Pakistan needs the world like it never needed it before. It needs Pakistanis like it never needed them before. Thank you again Chris for highlighting our severe plight and thereby helping guide energies towards rebuilding, in our direction.
As for our Indian friends, bad taste and wrong time and venue to air your angst.
Help Pakistan! The Horrors Unfold By The Numbers
Pakistan does need foreign help but we are also helping ourselves.
Please take a look at our small effort.
Thank you
Hashoo Foundation Expands Pakistan Flood Relief and Solidarity Efforts
No time for ‘Donor Fatigue Syndrome’ (DFS) - medical, food and water projects need awareness and support

Hashoo Foundation (, a non-profit Pakistan-based organization providing emergency relief, job training and social support to Pakistani families since 1988, has been on the ground providing food, water and medical care in the wake of the devastating floods.

In response to the aftermath of Pakistan’s horrific natural disaster, Hashoo Foundation has focused their emergency aid on flood affected families in Charsadda and Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; Muzaffargarh and Kot Addu, Punjab and relief camps set up in Karachi, Sindh. Additionally, the Hashoo Foundation plans to be actively involved in the continuous recovery, rehabilitation and rebuilding process of the affected areas.

Pakistan flood medical recovery efforts from Hashoo Foundation

Hashoo Foundation opened a Children's Hospital and Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Center in the District of Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on September 1, 2010. The center offers free consultation, in-patient care and free medical supplies 24 hours to 250 patients a day. A second Children’s Hospital is scheduled to open by the end of September 2010 in Nowshera DHQ, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a partnership between Hashoo Foundation and the Pakistan Pediatrics Association (PPA).

To connect with the many affected villages in need of medical care, Hashoo Foundation and the Network for Human and Social Development (NHDS) are also coordinating a mobile medical clinic to service affected Pakistani families from 36 villages in Kot Addu and Muzaffargarh, Punjab. The medical team, operating from the Foundation’s Hassan Ali Hashwani dispensary, will begin to service each of the four camps in Karachi, Sindh treating over 200 patients a day.

Food, water and hope to Pakistani displaced peoples from Hashoo Foundation

The Hashoo Group and Hashoo Foundation have initiated a campaign for all employees to donate 1 day salary towards supplying bottles of water through their medical clinics. In total, the organizations will distribute around 120,000 (1.5 litre) bottles, as well as water filtration systems that can purify the flood water to make it safe to drink, cooking and other necessities.

In partnership with the Hashoo Group of hotels, Hashoo Foundation has distributed over 1,000 food parcels to the flood affected families, with fund raising going on to provide 1,000 more.

According to Tahir Shah, Orient Petroleum International Inc., “two truckloads of dry foods were transported to the worst affected area of Muzaffargarh and Kot Addu, Punjab and another to Akora Khattak and Nowshera Kalan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The food parcels will last a family of 6-8 members for about two weeks.”

Now is the time to avoid ‘Donor Fatigue Syndrome’

“The initial global response to Pakistan’s flooding was slow,” Sarah Hashwani, Chairperson of Hashoo Foundation, said. “Today, the world’s attention on Pakistan is vanishing and with it much needed donations for continued stabilizing relief projects. This is a crucial time for not only the Pakistani nation, but the entire world.”

Unfortunately, the gradual loss of global support and recovery aid in Pakistan can lead to extremist groups stepping in and providing the needed assistance and winning loyalty and approval of the millions who are embarking on a very difficult and daunting road to recovery. Some believe there is a risk that this disaster may further destabilize Pakistan’s already fragile democracy to a point that jeopardizes the security of the rest of the world.

“There is no time for Donor Fatigue Syndrome (DFS),” Cristal Montañéz Baylor, Executive Director Hashoo Foundation USA, said. “Disasters can bring out the best of the human spirit. We must do our part to help the people of Pakistan who are suffering in a catastrophe of this magnitude.”

To donate online to the Hashoo Foundation Flood Relief Interventions please click the following link:

For more details on Hashoo Foundation’s Flood Relief Interventions visit our blog

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