Opinion

STAFF EDITORIAL: Lack of Coverage On Pakistan’s Fatal Floods Hurts Pakistan and the Planet

Austin Hojdar | The PhoenixFrom June 14 to Sept. 9, at least 1,396 people have died in Pakistan due to the horrific flooding, according to their National Disaster Management Agency

For three months, Pakistan has been feeling the effects of massive floods laying waste to the country’s towns and communities. And yet, the coverage provided by major news services has been anything but comprehensive.

From June 14 to Sept. 9, there have been at least 1,396 deaths due to flooding in Pakistan, according to their National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA). Six hundred seventeen men, 280 women and 499 children have lost their lives to the floods that have become a footnote in the news, according to the NDMA.

Not a single story about Pakistan can be found on the homepage on the websites of both The New York Times and The Washington Post, as of Sept. 13. The Associated Press (AP) and The Wall Street Journal follow suit.

These are not the only publications at fault, but as some of the nation’s leading news sources, there is a responsibility to inform the public on the ruin in which these floods have left the South Asian country.

Plenty of these news organizations have prioritized coverage of a colonialist monarchy and which television stars took home shiny trophies instead of a major country that will be in turmoil for months to come.

This has become a pattern among large newspapers. Countries with large, marginalized communities are often overlooked when it comes to reporting. In addition, experts say Pakistan is the “eighth most vulnerable country to climate change,” AP reports 

“Nearly a half million people crowded into camps after losing their homes in widespread flooding,” AP writes.

The difference is the people of Pakistan have no choice but to pay attention to their disaster. Journalists do.

CNN’s lone homepage article about the disaster writes, “it could take up to six months for deadly flood waters to recede in the country’s hardest-hit areas.”

These floods have been caused by an “unprecedented” amount of rainfall and massive monsoons which experts say have been exacerbated by climate change, according to AP. For years, scientists have been warning officials about the state of the world and the climate crisis that is worsening by the day. Still, many of the predicted effects of climate change seem far-off and abstract.

Articles and scientists speak of a “tenths of a degree” in warming, which is wildly significant to experts, but incomprehensible to the average person. 

But people can understand flooding. People can sympathize with death. Studies show this devastation is induced by climate change, but, for some reason, news outlets are choosing to overlook a real, tangible outcome of the planet’s negative trajectory. 

The lack of coverage Pakistan has received over the past three months is causing a lack of awareness for both an immediate problem and a looming one. 

When giant conglomerates are choosing to under-report on the state of emergency a country finds itself in, its citizens are left to struggle and be forgotten. In tandem, they’re foregoing their obligation to thoroughly inform the public on the extremely real and very present warming climate.

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