Pakistan faces humanitarian funding crisis: UN official

08:10, May 18, 2010      

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Pakistan is facing a humanitarian funding crisis, a United Nations official said in Geneva on Monday.

"Food and health, clean water supplies and sanitation are at risk because of inadequate funding," said Martin Mogwanja, UN humanitarian coordinator for Pakistan.

In February, the UN appealed for 537 million U.S. dollars in emergency funding. To date, it has only received 141 million dollars, or 26 percent. In light of the budget shortfall, Mogwanja said services will be cut.

"Making cuts is very, very difficult because the community we're trying to serve is a community of IDPs (internally displaced persons) who have left behind everything and who have nothing where they have been displaced," Mogwanja said. "Survival is the most pressing priority."

Since April of last year, military operations have caused almost 3.5 million Pakistanis to flee their homes. Of that number, nearly 2 million have returned to their communities. That leaves 1.5 million still in need.

Yet that number is growing. New IDPs from the Orakzai and Kurram Agencies, where the military has killed 90 militants over the last two days, keep arriving to UN camps. The UN has registered an average of 800 families a day. Each family is composed of six or seven individuals.

"Further military operations will cause further displacement. Yet the humanitarian community in Pakistan does not have the resources to take care of any new IDPs," Mogwanja said.

Security concerns not only result in more IDPs but also diminished humanitarian aid. On Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross restricted its work in southwestern Pakistan in response to threats and sectarian violence.

Source: Xinhua
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