Pakistani Flood Aid Pledges Reach USD800M

Pakistanis evacuate after floods from the mountainous northwest descend on Punjab. Flood aid pledges to Pakistan, which has reached USD800 million, is not enough to cover the scope of the devastation, according to the Wall Street Journal. Photo by: Amjad Jamal / WFP

More than USD800 million has already been pledged to help Pakistan recover from the massive monsoon flooding that has affected 20 million people, but the amount still falls short.

The figure, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, is still not enough to cover the scope of the devastation.

The floods are not expected to recede until mid-September, with rains expected to continue in some parts of Pakistan for at least another three weeks.

Floodwaters are now headed toward southern provinces where farmers are still reeling from recent water shortages, a report by the Financial Times says.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon is considering holding a special donors’ conference at the annual opening of the General Assembly this September in New York, ClimateWire through the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said over the weekend it will assess Pakistan’s budget and economic prospects after the devastating monsoon floods. Talks will focus on the future of the Islamic nation’s USD10 billion program with IMF, which was approved in 2008, Reuters reports.

“The scale of the tragedy means that the country’s budget and macroeconomic prospects, which are being supported by an IMF financed program, will need to be reviewed,” Masood Ahmed, IMF director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said in a statement.

Aid workers say the lack of funding for Pakistan is forcing them to choose between urgent flood relief or long-term recovery due to the slow mobilization of funding for the Islamic nation. World Vision, for one, says its initial response in a disaster deals with distributing basic supplies before proceeding toward long-term rehabilitation efforts.

”That’s a dilemma we are facing because the level of funding has not been where it has for other emergencies on this scale,” Steve Goudswaard, head of World Vision’s relief effort in Pakistan, was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald. ”Do we go out now and get a lot of relief supplies like shelter kits that are going to blow a lot of money or do we fix on a narrower program that might have a deeper but not as broad an impact?”

Relief agencies including Mercy Corps and World Vision say mobilizing funding for unfolding disasters such as Pakistan’s monsoon flooding is always more difficult than sudden calamites like earthquakes or hurricanes.

“We had raised 50 times more for Haiti in the first two weeks than we had for Pakistan,” Casey Calamusa, a World Vision spokesman, said as quoted by The Oregonian. “Yet there’s 10 times any many people affected in Pakistan than in Haiti.”

More donations

Denmark has committed some USD11 million in flood aid for Pakistan, which will be disbursed through Danish aid organizations and U.N. agencies. Meanwhile, ActionAid, Plan International and Save the Children have launched Aug. 19 a campaign to raise funding for flood victims in the Asian nation.

“Millions of people are now dependent on humanitarian assistance for survival, yet this story has only briefly made the front pages,” said Plan International Australia’s chief executive, Ian Wishart. “As a result, donations are way below the levels we’d expect for a disaster of this magnitude. Australians are known for their generosity, but it’s hard for them to contribute to an emergency they’re not being told about.”

While the Canadian government did not increase its aid for Pakistan, the donor nation says it is exploring other ways of assisting flood victims.

“We are not closing any options (for) further assistance to the people of Pakistan in their hour of need,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon as quoted by The Star.

Canada established Aug. 22 a Pakistan Floods Relief Fund, which will mobilize private donations from Canadians. The Canadian government said it will match the money raised through the fund.

“The Government of Canada will contribute an equivalent amount to the Pakistan Floods Relief Fund for every eligible donation by individual Canadians to Canadian registered charities between August 2 and September 12,” Minister of International Cooperation Beverley Oda said in a statement. “This fund will provide effective and accountable financial support to experienced Canadian and international humanitarian and development partner organizations working on humanitarian assistance, early recovery, and reconstruction efforts in the affected areas.”

Pakistan has also appeared to accept India’s donation of USD5 million. Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, dismissed claims that political reasons caused the delay in accepting the Indian contribution, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Apart from aid pledges, relief supplies are also being sent to the flood-ravaged nation.

An aircraft of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization delivered power generators, water pumps and tents to Pakistan. Canadian relief goods, as well as Chinese supplies have also arrived in Pakistan, Xinhua reports.

Australia is deploying medical teams to Pakistan to provide health care to communities still reeling from the floods. The U.S., meanwhile, is increasing its humanitarian military presence in Pakistan, with 18 military and civilian aircraft in the country and three based in Afghanistan, according to The Takeway.

The U.N. says more helicopters are immediately needed to dole out aid to Pakistanis, BBC reports.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.