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This just in: there was a flood in Pakistan

We have chronicled here on Aid Watch how media coverage of disasters influences disasters, and how late the US media has been to the story of the disastrous flood in Pakistan, with apparently anemic donor response as a result.

Puzzlement deepened this morning at 7:30 am when I picked up my NYT off my doorstep and saw the four column front-page headline: Much of Pakistan’s Progress is Lost in Its Floodwaters.  The NYT devotes not only the huge front-page space to the flood, but also two prime pages inside of the first section. Could somebody please explain the mysterious alchemy by which a tragedy going on for a month already finally become a huge story?

In praise of the NYT, the story is great, and also has great pictures and maps like this one shown here. So please go back and read Laura’s many posts on Pakistan flooding.

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  1. jon wrote:

    I’d say the material was lying around and they found themselves with some empty pages to fill.

    Posted August 27, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  2. Hafiz shah Ali wrote:

    1/5th of the Pakistan’s land mass affected by flood waters. (62000 sq miles)

    * GDP growth could be as low as zero percent

    * Cotton crop loss about 30 percent
    * Inflation could reach 25 percent
    Human Cost of the Disaster

    Around 20 million people affected

    Nearly 1,500 casualties reported so far; death toll feared to rise dramatically

    Millions of people without basic food, clothing and shelter

    More than 1.8 million people without clean drinking water

    Around 3.5 million children at risk from water-borne diseases

    Hundreds of villages located on low-lying lands submerged

    Thousands of villages – with peoples houses, belongings, livestock etc – washed away
    More than 5,000 miles of roads and railways have been washed away
    Houses damaged and destroyed 1,237,493 (28 Aug)

    Economic Cost of the Disaster

    GDP could become 0%
    An estimated 10 million people have lost their livelihoods

    Over 3.2 million hectares of standing crops, representing 16% of the cultivatable area, have so far been damaged

    Agricultural sector– that contributes 21% to the GDP and engages around 45% of the labour force – has been the worst hit

    Total economic losses still under assessment

    Reconstruction and rehabilitation to cost over $7 billion

    Over 5,500 schools and 1,300 health centres have been either damaged or destroyed; and nearly 5,000 schools are now housing displaced families – UNICEF Estimates

    Posted August 30, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink
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    The Aid Watch blog is a project of New York University's Development Research Institute (DRI). This blog is principally written by William Easterly, author of "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics" and "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good," and Professor of Economics at NYU. It is co-written by Laura Freschi and by occasional guest bloggers. Our work is based on the idea that more aid will reach the poor the more people are watching aid.

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