Aid groups warn over Pakistan flood fund

The badly affected province was already reeling from floods last year that were the worst ever in Pakistan.

Islamabad: Aid groups on Wednesday warned that vital
relief efforts for five million people affected by floods in
Pakistan`s fertile southern belt could be cut back because of
a shortfall in foreign donations.

Supplies of clean water, sanitation, food, shelter and
healthcare are all under severe threat and impoverished
farmers in waterlogged Sindh face losing yet another winter
crop, just as the cold weather closes in.

The badly affected province was already reeling from
floods last year that were the worst ever in Pakistan.

Less than a third of the UN`s USD 357 million floods
appeal for 2011 has been met and global aid organisations
Oxfam, Save the Children, Care and umbrella group ACTED are
urging donors to give more or see aid flows stop.

"Over two months into the crisis, millions of people are
still without basics. If relief operations stop, it could lead
to an unimaginable catastrophe," said Neva Khan, Oxfam`s
country director in Pakistan.

"With winter approaching fast, millions of people who are
still without shelter will be left out in the cold. We
urgently need to see the same donor generosity and giving that
took place last year during the floods."

Save the Children has raised only 35 per cent of its
required funds, while Care faces a shortfall of 91 per cent.
The US and European Commission have given the most money
to the United Nations appeal, donating USD 13.4 million and
USD 20.6 million respectively.

Stacey Winston, from the UN, said the 2011 fund "remains
distressingly underfunded with a 73 per cent shortfall and if
more funding is not received relief supplies will run out
within weeks."

According to official figures, more than 1.58 million
homes in Sindh and 26,000 in neighbouring Baluchistan province
have been damaged in the flood disaster. About 800,000 people
remain displaced.

Latest estimates suggest that three million people are in
urgent need of emergency food supplies.

Farmers badly need help to plant a new season of crops or
find other ways to earn a living, while millions of others are
at risk of disease from stagnant waters, raising the risk of
malaria, dengue and respiratory disease.

"We had expected the situation to stabilise by now but
conditions are going from bad to worse," warned Save the
Children`s Pakistan country director David Wright.

"Malnutrition levels among children under five are among
some of our worst-recorded cases."

PTI

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