Italy offers €80 mn to flood-hit Pakistan

Italy will grant flood-devastated Pakistan EUR 80 million in relief.

Last Updated: Sep 10, 2010, 12:44 PM IST

Rome: Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Italy will grant flood-devastated Pakistan EUR 80 million (around USD 101 million) in relief. The money follows the EUR 4.5 million Rome has already earmarked for the South Asian country.

Speaking to reporters in Rome following a meeting with Pakistani Finance Minister Abdul Hafiz Sheikh, Frattini said EUR 20 million of funds will come in the form of debt relief, EUR 10 million as direct emergency relief and EUR 50 million in credits.

Pakistan is struggling to juggle the need to manage emergency rescue efforts and fight a deadly Taliban and al Qaeda insurgency.

"Not helping Pakistan now and not doing anything will cost more than helping the country now," Frattini said.

Sheikh said his country was stretched thin in desperate need of international help or run the risk of deep economic debilitation.

"We tried to mobilise our resources...but the floods killed many people, destroyed cultivated land and infrastructure limiting the possibility of economic growth," he said.

Around 1,800 people in Pakistan have died in recent flooding which has reportedly affected 21 million people.

The country`s government has been the target of criticism for alleged corruption that has hampered relief efforts. The United Nations` has raised two thirds of its USD 460 million goal in its flood appeal.

IANS