UN makes fresh aid appeal for flood-hit Pak amid poor response

The United Nation and its agencies on Tuesday launched a fresh appeal for over USD 2 billion following the poor response to help millions of marooned victims from the worst floods in Pakistan.

Geneva: The United Nation and its
agencies on Tuesday launched a fresh appeal for over USD 2 billion
following the poor response to help millions of marooned
victims from the worst floods in Pakistan.

"This amount would only help around 14 million people
out of 20 million victims during the next 12 months," said a
spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.
While OCHA launched the USD 2 billion appeal last
Friday, it received only USD 434 million amounting to 21.7 per
cent of fund.

Clearly, this inadequate to address the health, food,
and shelter-related problems faced by the hapless flood
victims in Pakistan, the UN agency said.

UNICEF says it would need millions of dollars to
assist around 10 million children hit by floods.

The humanitarian crisis in Pakistan is so massive
that the actual scale continues to elude the imagination of
the public across the world," a UNICEF official said.

All indicators suggest that the floods in Pakistan
have caused the worst humanitarian disaster as compared any
other recent calamity in the world.

"The Pakistan emergency exceeds the combined number of
people affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, the 2005
Kashmir earthquake on Pakistan?s border, and the 2010 Haiti
earthquake," according to UNICEF.

The are about 16 international agencies and 156
non-governmental organisations are working round the clock in
Pakistan to address the poor victims suffering acute diarrhea
(13 per cent of total consultations), acute respiratory
infections (15 per cent) and skin diseases (18 per cent).
"Pakistan`s development prospects may be disrupted for
many years," OCHA said, adding that the damage to the economic
infrastructure and livelihoods is immense.

While irrigation, drainage and storage facilities are
badly damaged, farmers lost their crops and not able to plant
their fields by November.

The farmers would, therefore, need aid until well into
2012, said OCHA.

Besides, shelter for victims is proving to be a
difficult problem, said UNHCR, arguing that it has airlifted
shelter supplies to the remote and high altitude area of Utror
in northwest Pakistan or Swat region.

The remote region has been virtually cut off since
flash floods destroyed homes, roads and bridges in late July.

The reluctance of the global community to respond to
the UN`s initial appeal has been attributed to concerns that
the foreign governments have about corruption that may lead to
misuse of the aid in Pakistan.

In New York, Pakistan`s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi assured donor nations that the money sent for its
flood victims will not be wasted, saying the aid would be
"well spent" in a "transparent manner".

"I want to assure the international community that
every dollar being contributed will be well spent in a
transparent manner and we have today in place an oversight
mechanism, which is comprising of people with a lot of
eminence and integrity," Qureshi said yesterday.

India has made an immediate USD 25 million
contribution to its rival neighbour as soon as the appeal was
made on Friday.

PTI

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