World Bank agrees to provide USD 900 million to Pakistan

The World Bank has agreed to provide give a USD 900 million financial aid to Pakistan which is facing devastating flood that has affected 14 million people.

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2010, 12:11 PM IST

Washington: The World Bank has agreed to provide give a USD 900 million financial aid to Pakistan which is facing devastating flood that has affected 14 million people.

"The Government of Pakistan has requested around USD 900 million of financial support from the World Bank, which we have committed to provide," the World Bank said in statement.

The funding for this would come from the Bank`s Fund for the Poorest (the International Development Association, IDA) through reprogramming of currently planned projects and reallocation of undisbursed funds from ongoing projects.

On August 11, Pakistan had asked the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to undertake a Damages and Needs Assessment in the flood-hit areas, and the United Nations (UN) the Early Recovery Needs Assessment.

The World Bank, the ADB, and the UN will collaborate through participation and sharing of information on their respective assessments, and will also regularly coordinate
with key donors.

The Bank and ADB have mobilised staff and a Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) rapid response team arrived in Islamabad on Friday last to help
launch the assessment.

"If there is no fresh wave of flooding, the assessment can be completed by October 15," the Bank said.

The current floods have now affected over 14 million people, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), with some estimates putting the figure considerably higher.
The affected area covers 132,421 km, including 1.4 million acres of cropped land. Continuing rains have caused additional flooding and hindered relief activities.

The scale of destruction exceeds that of the 2005 earthquake.

"The economic cost is expected to be huge," the Bank said.
Preliminary information indicates that direct damage from floods was greatest in the housing (current estimates are that 723,000 houses have either been destroyed or damaged), roads, irrigation, and agriculture sectors.

Crop loss was estimated at USD 1 billion. The full impact on soil erosion and agriculture could only be assessed when the water recedes, by mid-September.

A grant of USD 1.3 million has also been made available by the GFDRR to support the Damage Needs Assessment, rescue and relief efforts, and to strengthen disaster
management and longer term disaster risk reduction.

PTI