Response to Pakistan relief plan "positive," but more funding needed: UN

09:20, August 19, 2010      

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Members of a family fleeing flood waters board a truck while looking for higher grounds in Sukkur in Pakistan's Sindh province August 16, 2010. Pakistan authorities forecast on Monday a brief respite in rains that sparked the country's worst floods in decades, but aid agencies warned help was too slow to arrive for millions without clean water, food and homes. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

UN officials are pleased with the increased donations to help bring humanitarian assistance to the millions of Pakistanis devastated by recent floods, but they emphasized on Wednesday that further resources must be mobilized.

"Watching this disaster unfold, the world increasingly understands its immense magnitude," said John Holmes, UN under- secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. "I am glad that we now see a more positive response to the calls of the secretary-general and the humanitarian community for increased and faster funding."

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) requires 459.7 million U.S. dollars in order to fund relief efforts in the flooded country. As of Wednesday, 227.8 million dollars, or 49.6 percent of the total, has been received and another 42.1 million dollars pledged. When this pledge is delivered, PIFERP will be 58.7 percent funded.

Holmes requested that potential donors be "ready for any increase in requirements," as flooding is not yet over.

"The Indus River is at 40 times its normal volume," Karen Allen of the Untied Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Islamabad said. "Whole cities, of up to 250,000 people, have been evacuated, and people have lost everything."

The Pakistani government estimates that the floods have affected 15.4 million people in the country thus far, with six to eight million currently in urgent need of life-saving aid.

"More relief supplies are in the pipeline, and we are reaching more and more women, men, and children every day," said Martin Mogwanja, humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan. "Tents, food, water purification tablets, are being procured as we speak."

OCHA indicated that the UN and its partners have been able to provide 800,000 people in Pakistan with food aid and nearly one million with shelter so far. Aid organizations now have enough supplies in Pakistan to service the health needs of 1.8 million people.

Procuring clean water for Pakistan is also a significant problem as the risk for waterborne diseases is currently high. OCHA said that although at least 1.4 million people have been given access to clean water thanks to the UN and its partners, millions more water purification tablets are needed to continue doing so in the coming days.

Source: Xinhua


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