Britain raises Pakistan flood aid to £134 mn

The floods in Pakistan have affected some 20 million people.

London: Britain said on Sunday it would more than double its aid to Pakistan to GBP 134 million in response to a United Nations appeal to help the flood-hit country recover.

Britain`s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell made the announcement, which takes the aid pledged by London to the equivalent of USD 210 million or EUR 160 million, at the UN in New York.

London had already committed GBP 64 million in aid and the new pledge was for GBP 70 million.

"Britain will continue its leading role, standing by Pakistan in its hour of need," said Mitchell. "Grave challenges lie ahead as people in Pakistan begin to recover from the floods."

He was one of 25 top ministers, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who gathered to pledge more aid for the crisis in Pakistan in response to a record USD 2 billion appeal from the UN.

Mitchell said GBP 60 million of the new money promised by Britain would be used to help get people back to work, rebuild devastated farms, and get children back to school.

The remaining GBP 10 million of the additional funds would be used in southern Pakistan to help avert a public health emergency, he said.

Money previously pledged had provided aid which included planes carrying supplies, emergency shelter and safe drinking water, according to the government.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called the floods "the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65-year history."

The floods, caused by weeks of torrential rain have killed more than 1,700 people, according to an official toll, but the UN said the massive surge has exposed more than 20 million people to homelessness, malnutrition, risks of epidemics and loss of livelihood.

Bureau Report