Pakistan’s flooding disaster may ignite social unrest and further intensify the already volatile security situation in the country that has been central to the U.S.’s fight against extremists.
With the sluggish delivery of aid, “[i]t really does have the potential of pushing people to migrate into other areas, destabilizing rural populations and leading to violence and struggles over access to basic assets and food in ways that could threaten the Pakistani state,” said Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, as quoted by USA Today. “I don’t think that’s in the interest of any nation in the world. And I think that’s on the minds of the people in the administration.”
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke acknowledged that rebel groups are handing out relief items to Pakistani flood survivors.
“Obviously we are aware of this. But we are focused solely on helping people in this extreme situation. We will sort out all of the other implications later,” Holbrooke said, as quoted by The Cable’s Josh Rogin.
Frank Ruggerio, the U.S. State Department’s deputy representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, played down efforts by militant groups.
“We think that the support that the international community can provide is on such a scale beyond what can be provided by organizations such as that,” Ruggerio said according to USA Today.
U.S. Senator John Kerry, who is visiting the flood-ravaged nation, said, “we don’t want additional jihadists, extremists coming out of a crisis,” USA Today reports.
A national council will manage the distribution of aid for Pakistani communities affected by the flooding, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said. The National Oversight Disaster Management Council will work to ensure transparency in the delivery of aid, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.
“These respectable members of the council will ensure that the funds are distributed and utilized in a transparent manner and spent judiciously as per the requirements, without any discrimination to any area or province,” Gilani was quoted by the UPI.
The massive flooding has destroyed standing crops, and stored grain and seeds for planting, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development.