The world is now beginning to respond in a significant way to the almost bottomless pit of need in Pakistan. Whether – with some 20 million affected and the nation's ability to feed itself ruined for years to come – it will be enough is very doubtful.
So far, according to the UN, some $93m (unofficial reports say $150m) has been given or promised, in cash or kind; with a further $366m needed immediately. That number is likely to increase, and the UN estimates that billions will be required to rebuild once waters have receded.
But criticisms of the British response (one newspaper called it "tight-fisted") are ill-judged. The Government has already allocated £17m (out of £31.3m earmarked), and the public has donated £12m to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. In terms of money given, as opposed to pledged, Britain is one of the world's most generous givers.
All kinds of comparisons have been made between the response to this disaster and those to the Haiti earthquake, the Boxing Day tsunami, and the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, all of which raised far more from the public. But appeals for single cataclysms, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, always do better than the more creeping – but often more serious in terms of need – disasters such as food crises and floods. One aid agency source said: "What stirs people to give are high death tolls – even though nothing can help the dead – and arresting images of people amid destruction."
By the standards of previous "creeping disaster" appeals, the DEC's for Pakistan 2010 is doing well – £12m in only a week. And a lot of British giving is not being logged. Members of our large Pakistan-origin diaspora are sending money, with money transfers from Britain to Pakistan up 36 per cent in the past seven days. And many mosques and community groups are organising aid. Overall, using figures supplied by the UN, international wire services and London's Pakistan High Commission, these are the aid donations so far:
Australia: $9m plus $30m pledged; two C-17 freight aircraft.
Azerbaijan: $1m; embassy staff in Pakistan gave two days' salary.
Canada: $2m; $30m pledged.
China: $1.5m; $7.4m pledged.
Denmark: $10m; $50m pledged; $771,000 provided for immediate aid.
Estonia: $84,000 for food assistance.
France: $1.4m; money for water sanitisation.
Germany: $2.4m; pledged $13m for improving water, sanitation and hygiene.
India: Offered $5m; Pakistan considering response.
Italy: $1.8m; $3.3m pledged. Silvio Berlusconi gave $7m of own money.
Ireland: $260,000; $1.1m pledged.
Japan: $230,000 for emergency relief; $3m for aftermath.
Kuwait: $5m; plus aid flights.
Malaysia: $1m; plus private donations.
Netherlands: $1.3m; $2.6m pledged.
New Zealand: $1.5m pledged.
Saudi Arabia: pledged $100m, plus air transport.
Spain: $855,000; plus relief plane.
Sri Lanka: $26,709.
Sweden: $3m; plus water purification.
Switzerland: $1.6m; plus relief workers.
Turkey: $5m; 115 tons of aid.
UAE: $1.5m; Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak personally donated $1.4m.
UK: £17m ($26m); provided RAF C-17 heavy freight aircraft, which has already delivered 2,500 tents; the Queen donated an undisclosed amount through the British Red Cross; DEC total reached £12m ($19m) last Friday.
USA: $22m; pledged $40m; provided 56,000 ready meals, 12 temporary bridges and two water filtration plants; 1,000 US marines; 25 Chinook helicopters.