UN Eyes Launching New Appeal for Pakistan

Flood victims in Mian Gujar, near Peshawar in the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, receive food aid from the World Food Program. According to the United Nations, some 3 million flood-affected Pakistanis still have not received food assistance. Photo by: U.N./WFP/Amjad Jamal

Although the international community has committed more than USD1 billion in flood relief for Pakistan, the funding is “far from enough,” the United Nations special envoy for assistance to Pakistan said.

“We need more money, we need more response,” Jean-Maurice Ripert was quoted by CNN as saying, “and the U.N. … certainly is launching a new appeal.”

The U.N. estimated that the deadly monsoon flooding, which swamped one-fifth of Pakistan, has left some 8 million dependent on aid, The Associated Press reports. According to the U.N., more than 3 million Pakistanis have yet to receive food aid, while the Pakistani government said some 1 million people have not obtained assistance of any sort.

Diseases also plague many of the flood victims. Those suffering from diarrhea or respiratory infections number at least 1 million, CNN reports. Some 65,000 cases of malaria were also reported. 

According to the U.N., the situation in the Balochistan province is particularly alarming, with some 2 million people affected by the flooding.

“We need to scale up our activities in the province. If not, I think we are heading for a major humanitarian disaster there,” said Mengesha Kebede, country representative of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Pakistan.

“I have worked in humanitarian situations globally and worked in refugee camps in Africa during emergencies, but to be honest I had never seen a situation as devastating as I saw in Balochistan,” he added.

Relief efforts in the flood-ravaged nation will likely have to be sustained for six to eight months, according to Lt. Gen. Shafqaat Ahmed, commander of the Pakistani Army’s Corps II in the Multan region. Construction materials and seeds for replanting crops may do more help than emergency relief items such as food packets in some instances, according to Pakistani Army Chief of Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. He said he wants to ensure that Pakistani flood victims have access to resources they need to return to their communities, Bloomberg reports.

“We have to help them stand on their own two feet,” Kayani told Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Don’t raise the expectations of people to a level you can’t meet.”

Mullen, who surveyed Sept. 2 the extent of damage caused by the flooding, said “it’s going to take a considerable amount of time to recover from” the monsoon floods.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued Sept. 3 a presidential directive authorizing emergency funds to Pakistan’s flood victims. Some USD33 million can be drawn from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund to aid Pakistan.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided 13 mobile water treatment units to help supply potable water in the Islamic nation. The International Committee of the Red Cross, meanwhile, has pledged 77 million Swiss francs (USD75 million) to assist Pakistani flood victims. ICRC hopes to reach some 1.4 million people with the funding, according to a release by Charities Aid Foundation.  

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.