The U.S. has allocated an additional USD76 million aid package for flood victims in Pakistan, with the bulk of the money to be spent on food aid for more than 6 million people.
The new pledge brings the U.S.’s total assistance to the international flood relief and recovery operation to USD345 million, Bloomberg reports.
Approximately USD75 million of the new aid pledge will be coursed through the U.N. World Food Program, according to U.S. Agency for Internaitonal Development Rajiv Shah.
“It is important to note that $70 million of this money will be used to locally procure approximately 120,000 tons of goods and that $5 million will be used for U.S. food that is part of USAID’s prepositioning program. The ability to locally procure items is important in the initial recovery and rebuilding efforts in Pakistan,” Shah explained in a statement.
The U.S.’s new pledge is in response to the U.N.’s revised aid appeal for Pakistan, which amounts to approximately USD2.07 billion. This is the U.N.’s largest-ever natural disaster appeal.
The U.K. earlier announced that it will provide an additional 70 million pounds (USD109 million) to Pakistan. The British government earlier pledged 64 million pounds for the Pakistan flood relief efforts.
Of the new money, 60 million pounds will be used to rebuild farms and provide educational facilities for children. The remaining 10 million pounds will help prevent a public health emergency in southern Pakistan, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said, according to Agence France-Presse.
Meanwhile, Norway said it will increase its aid for Pakistan to 400 million kroner (USD66 million). Norway has already provided 115 million kroner in emergency relief following the fatal monsoon flooding. U.N. humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross movement and NGOs working in Pakistan will manage the funding.
ADB said it is expanding its trade finance program in Pakistan by an extra USD500 million. The additional funding, announced by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda during the U.N. high-level ministerial meeting, is expected to mobilize between USD1.5 billion and USD2 billion in trade finance.
The World Bank-administered multidonor trust fund for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan will target reconstruction and peace-building initiatives following the flooding. Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S. have agreed to pool a total of USD130 million through the fund.
The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. will sponsor Pakistan’s annual Small and Medium Enterprise Conference, where it will promote the use of Business Edge, the corporation’s international management training product. Business Edge aims to enhance business performance and competitiveness of individuals and firms.
THe U.N.’s revised aid appeal will help provide assistance to more than 14 million Pakistanis over 12 months. It tops the U.N.’s funding request for Haiti of nearly USD1.49 billion, previously the world organization’s largest natural disaster appeal.
The appeal, which is more than four times the U.N.’s original appeal of USD460 million for Pakistan, will back 483 projects, which will be implemented by 15 U.N. agencies, the International Organization for Migration, and 156 national and international non-governmental organizations. Some 80 percent of the earlier Pakistani aid appeal of USD460 million has already been funded, and as such, total unmet funding requirements amount to some USD1.6 billion.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for “urgent response” to the new appeal. Ban described Pakistan’s monsoon flooding as a “global disaster, a global challenge, and a global test of solidarity.”
“We look forward to the government of Pakistan’s vision and a long-term strategy for rehabilitation and development with clear priorities,” Ban said Sept. 19 in an address to a high-level ministerial meeting on the Pakistani flooding in New York.
The World Bank and U.S. urged Pakistan to reaffirm to donors that it can use aid money responsibly and transparently, Reuters reports.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick told the high-level U.N. meeting on Pakistan that the Islamic nation’s government will need to prove its capacity to manage foreign aid in the run-up to an October meeting in Brussels aimed at reviewing a flood damage assessment report being prepared by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
“To make most effective use of help and even to secure full donor support, the government will need a reconstruction founded on transparency, accountability, flexibility, backed by law,” Zoellick said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conveyed a similar idea, calling on Pakistan to “lead by instituting the reforms that will pave the way to self-sufficiency.”
“The international community will support Pakistan’s efforts at reform and reconstruction,” she said.
The U.N. Development Program is requesting USD89 million to help restore livelihood through job creation, rehabilitate community infrastructure and re-establish local government offices in Pakistan.
Averting a Public Crisis
Australian foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd warned of an epidemic in flood-ravaged Pakistan, The Australian reports.
“The early evidences in our field hospitals suggests a rising number of cases of terrible malaria, other serious diseases, as well as malnutrition,” Rudd told the U.N. high-level meeting. “I believe this is something we need to keep a very close eye on now. It may be that we avoid this problem, but I would rather that we turn back in six months’ time and realised there was no problem, rather than take the appropiate precautions right now.”
Oxfam International earlier urged donors to inject more funds into the relief effort to avert a spiraling crisis in the flood-hit country.
Oxfam warned of growing hunger and disease in flood-hit areas as more than 4 million people in need of aid have yet to receive it.
“If the people that need help do not receive it, then disease and hunger could spiral. We desperately need donors to step up to the plate and inject urgent funding,” Jane Cocking, Oxfam’s humanitarian director, said in a statement.
A World Health Organization official also warned of the possibility of a second wave of deaths in Pakistan due to cholera and other waterborne diseases. Measles and malaria also pose a significant threat, said Guido Sabatinelli, WHO representative in Pakistan, according to The Associated Press.
Rizza Leonzon contributed to this report.