Pakistan flood-related losses reach $43 bn: Gilani

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - 16:16

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Wednesday that his country has suffered losses of around $43 billion due to the floods that have displaced over 17 million people and killed over 1,600.

The floods, which started with heavy monsoon rains in July, have affected 30 percent of agricultural land and more than 10 percent of the population, destroying crops and livestock, and damaging homes, Gilani said at a weekly cabinet meeting.

He added that "the losses in terms of infrastructure - that is road, bridges and irrigation - and social structure are massive".

He said the damage caused by the floods would reduce economic growth to 2.5 percent, only just over half of the initial target of 4.5 percent for the current fiscal year to June 30.

Gilani warned that the floods would have a snowball effect on each sector of national economy, with serious social implications due to job losses and price hikes.

The floods also damaged 517 medical facilities in the country, which already suffers from insufficient health care provision, making it harder to cope with potential health emergencies.

Aid organisations were also making emergency preparations to facilitate an estimated 500,000 flood-affected women expecting children in the next six months.

"We don`t want it (the disaster) to also affect half a million babies who are not born yet," said Martin Mogwanja, humanitarian coordinator for the flood-hit South Asian country.

After conducting assessments on maternal, neonatal, and child health, the UN Population Fund has established at least 36 labour rooms at selected service delivery points, comprising 23 mobile service units and 13 existing government health facilities.

These facilities will provide emergency reproductive health services and emergency obstetric care.
"Additional support is urgently required to scale up life-saving health activities in affected areas," said Naseer Nizamani, the agency`s assistant representative in Pakistan.

UN officials have said that $6 million are required for reproductive health activities but only $1.2 million, or 20 percent, have been received so far.
The UN has so far received $325 million for aid to Pakistan after a $460-million aid appeal. The international community has also made direct donations and pledges to the country, taking the total funds to $1 billion.

IANS




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