Weather Watch
Weather analyst Philip Duncan checks the forecast and the story behind the temperatures

Weather Watch: Why don't people care about overseas disasters?


I thought for a while about writing this blog. I wasn't sure if many people would be interested in the topic. What is it about cultures that we do not understand, that makes us switch off and lose interest even in times of disaster?

I trust the news editors in most organisations to place headline stories based on what their readers/viewers/listeners care most about. Which backs up my theory even more. Do we really care about what is happening in China and Pakistan?

Think about it. Hurricane Katrina was devastating - it killed 1836 people and left hundres of thousands of people displaced. Do you remember the news coverage of it? It was horrific and dominated our news headlines for several days... weeks even.

So why is it our news isn't leading with the devastating floods in China and Pakistan? Why aren't we talking about it every day at work? Why isn't it something we'll all remember? has run numerous stories on these floods yet the deadly weather in Asia has ranked 134th so far this month.

I'm just as guilty though. I have to admit I pay huge interest in American and Canadian storms but very rarely do I rush to read stories that come from Asia or even South America or eastern Europe. It's weird. Because they are human beings just like me, the only real difference is that I don't speak their language. But so what?

If it wasn't for my job I probably wouldn't have even really read the news stories on these two severely flooded nations.

Thankfully I did read the stories and watched the videos. It pulled at my heart strings and prompted me to heavily push donating money to the Pakistani red cross appeal.

I don't know how to make people read about these events. I don't know how to motivate people to take interest in these devastating floods - or other weather disasters from foreign nations. The only thing I do know is that dramatic videos and photos help. Some of the videos I've seen have been amazing - gives you a true understanding as to just how much power is involved in mother nature and just how fragile the buildings are around it.

Take for instance this dramatic flash flood video from Pakistan.

We live in a weird world where a hurricane in 2005 that displaced hundreds of thousands of people will be more memorable and upsetting to us than almost 200 million people in the same predicament right now. 200 MILLION people - that's 70% of the popoulation of the entire United States of America. But for some reason, most of us aren't even noticing it - or worse, don't seem to care.

Pakistani Red Cross appeal

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 25 Jan 2017 14:36:29 Processing Time: 290ms