NEW YORK -- American donors, overwhelmingly generous after the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, are responding much more slowly to the devastating earthquake in Pakistan.
Though no overall figures have been compiled yet, aid agencies including the American Red Cross and the World Food Program say earthquake contributions are behind the pace of donations after the tsunami in December. CARE said Wednesday that its online quake donations so far have been about $200,000, compared with $1.5 million in online gifts at the same stage after the tsunami.
''The fact that the tsunami struck a tourist region and happened right after Christmas played a role in terms of the generosity," said Trevor Rowe, US-based spokesman for the World Food Program. ''We haven't witnessed that yet with the earthquake. Not at all. We need all the help we can get."
The earthquake struck Saturday as most US relief organizations are still seeking donations to deal with the aftermath of Katrina, the most disruptive natural disaster in American history.
Americans have donated more than $1.7 billion for hurricane relief, on the heels of $1.3 billion they donated in response to the tsunami -- a record for an overseas disaster.
''The past 12 months have been shocking in terms of the number of tragic natural disasters, and the American public has been incredibly generous in responding," said Debra Neuman, a vice president of CARE. ''So far, we are not seeing as strong a response to the earthquake. We need to tell the story in the most compelling way possible and urge people to reach down a little more deeply."
InterAction, an alliance of more than 160 US relief agencies, said its members have reported that many donors feel they have little left to give.
''When the tsunami hit, it was the time of giving, the time of joy, and it moved people to be generous," Mohammad Akhter, president of the alliance, said. ''When Katrina hit, it was so close to home, people were generous again. Now people have contributed all their money, and with this third big event the response is very slow."