World Bank increases Pakistan flood support to $1 bn

The World Bank aid to Pakistan will support long-term reconstruction efforts.

Last Updated: Sep 02, 2010, 11:22 AM IST

Washington: The World Bank said on Wednesday it was raising its support for flood relief in Pakistan to USD 1 billion, from USD 900 million.

The announcement came after a meeting in Washington between World Bank president Robert Zoellick and Pakistani Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh.

"As the surging Indus river devastates Pakistan, the country needs the world`s support to meet urgent humanitarian needs: Food, clean water, sanitation facilities, medical and nutritional supplies, and vaccines," said Zoellick.

The funds will support these immediate recovery needs as well as long-term reconstruction efforts. The money comes from the bank`s fund for the poorest countries, the International Development Association (IDA), which means the loans are concessional and carry no interest payments.

"This disaster underscores Pakistan`s fiscal vulnerability and dependence on foreign aid. Renewed commitment to governance and fiscal reforms will be important to mobilize domestic revenues and ensure that funds reach the poor people it is intended for," Zoellick said.

Pakistan`s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday that his country had suffered losses of about USD 43 billion because of the floods that have displaced more than 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.

IANS