12 August 2010 While assistance is being provided to hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis affected by what has been called their country’s worst flooding in living memory, the United Nations humanitarian wing says the relief operation needs to be massively scaled up.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 14 million people – almost one in every 10 Pakistanis – have so far been affected by the flooding, which began late last month in the wake of heavy monsoon rains.
More than 1,200 people have been killed, and at least 2 million left homeless, by the disaster which has also destroyed homes, farmland and major infrastructure in large parts of the country, most notably the north-west province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).
The monsoon season could last for at least another month, worsening the flooding that has been seen so far, including in parts of country not so far affected.
Yesterday in New York, UN aid agencies and their partners requested almost $460 million to help Pakistan address the needs of flood-affected families, including by providing food, clean drinking water, tents and other shelter and non-food items, as well as medical supplies.
So far, donors have committed or contributed $47 million to the response activities of the UN and its partners, and a further $99.5 million has been pledged. At least $300 million is, however, still urgently needed.
The funds requested under the initial floods emergency response plan will be revised within 30 days to reflect assessed needs as the situation evolves.
“We have a huge task in front of us to deliver all that is required as soon as possible,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said during the launch of the emergency response.
“The death toll has so far been relatively low compared to other major natural disasters, but the numbers affected are extraordinarily high. If we don’t act fast enough, many more people could die of diseases and food shortages,” Mr. Holmes added.
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