UN urges quick disbursement of funds to help Pakistan recover from floods

Distributing seeds to vulnerable farming families hit by the floods in Pakistan

27 January 2011 – Six months since the onset of last year's devastating floods in Pakistan, the humanitarian community there is urging adequate and timely resources to respond to early recovery needs, the United Nations said today.

Of the more than 450 projects included in the Floods Relief and Early Recovery Response Plan for Pakistan, 252 are early recovery programmes, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“As these well-designed projects are essential for the country to get back on its feet, we need more funding to put them into practice,” said Rauf Engin Soysal, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Assistance to Pakistan.

The early recovery projects have so far received 39 per cent of the required funding, and despite the fact that emergency relief is still required, the needs for rehabilitation activities are growing.

“Providing early recovery assistance in the current humanitarian environment is complex and requires a well-coordinated effort by the humanitarian community and the authorities at federal, provincial and district levels,” added Mr. Soysal.

Timo Pakkala, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan said: “Six months on, I am proud and honoured to be part of a commendable effort – led by the Government of Pakistan and supported by the international and national humanitarian community.”

Since the beginning of the emergency, almost 10 million people have received essential medical assistance, about 7 million are receiving monthly food rations, and more than 800,000 households have been provided with emergency shelter. An estimated 3.5 million people have access to safe drinking water through rehabilitated water supply systems.

Longer-term recovery entails reviving agriculture providing shelter, education facilities and employment opportunities and continuing medical assistance to prevent disease outbreaks.

Pakistan's agriculture sector is particularly in need of assistance because two million hectares of crops were destroyed by the floods, which also severely damaged irrigation systems.

“We are helping farmers in recovering their land by providing them with seeds, fertilizers and tools to accelerate the rehabilitation process. At the same time, the humanitarian community will continue to provide food aid as long as it is needed,” said Mr. Soysal.

The UN and its partners have requested $1.96 billion to fund the flood relief and recovery response plan. Some 56.3 per cent, or $1.1 billion, of the required amount has so far been received.

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