Aiming to steeply accelerate the flow of aid to Pakistan following the devastating floods in the country, the United Nations has announced a $459-million fundraising appeal.
According to reports, U.N. head of humanitarian operations John Holmes said that the aid, applied over the next 90 days, would be used for food, clean water, shelter and medical supplies and the “Emergency Response Plan’ would be revised after 30 days as more information came in.”
By some estimates, approximately 1,600 people have been killed by the monsoon floods thus far, principally in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces. However, the Food and Agriculture Organisation was quoted as saying that the devastation left by flood waters in the north and centre of the country “may worsen as they continue to head south”.
Taliban condemns international aid
Even as the appeal was announced, reports emerged of the Pakistani Taliban condemning the international aid and calling on Pakistan to reject the assistance. The militant group was quoted as saying that the aid was meant to subjugate Pakistan.
The United States meanwhile said that it has been responding “generously to Pakistan’s call for assistance”, consistent with its “deep commitment to Pakistan”. Noting that its support to Pakistan included both financial assistance and the immediate provision of urgently needed supplies and services, the State Department this week announced an additional $20 million in humanitarian assistance which will be delivered through the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The State Department added that U.S. contributions to date included a $55 million financial commitment for assistance to flood-affected populations, operations to rescue stranded people and airlift supplies, delivery of $3.25 million worth of halal meals to civilian and military officials in Pakistan, and emergency relief items were to be delivered to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in Peshawar. To date, the State Department noted, U.S. military helicopters had evacuated 2,328 people and delivered 213,600 pounds of relief supplies.