Ten days ahead of the second appeal from the United Nations for assistance to help Pakistan deal with the devastating floods, the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) remains under-funded; causing worry not just to the federal and provincial governments but also the aid agencies.
“We need to help Pakistan rebuild itself; not just for the sake of this country but also for the region and the rest of the world as what happens here will have implications elsewhere,'' was the refrain of Ajay Chhibber, Regional Director of the United Nations Development Programme for the Asia-Pacific Region. “We need to give them hope and restore faith in their future.''
And, it is with this mission in mind, that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres flew in UNHCR's Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie to Pakistan for two days beginning Tuesday. Already serenaded by the Pakistani media for her donation of $100,000 to the floods — billed as much more than individual contributions made by some of Pakistan's wealthy politicians to the flood effort — the actress visited Nowshera and is slated to interact with government representatives on Wednesday.
In a brief interaction with the media, Ms. Jolie said the situation was much more complex at close quarters; particularly since Pakistan is also home to the largest population of refugees in the world: 1.7 million Afghans. Majority of them lived in the Khyber-Pukhtoonkhwa province which has been most affected by the floods; making theirs a case of double displacement amid reports of land sharks now eyeing the land on which they had their dwelling units.
Hoping that Ms. Jolie's visit would help bring the spotlight back on the floods, Mr. Chhibber told mediapersons in another press conference that it was important to keep reminding the world about the crisis brewing here. About the slow pace of funding, he said it was possible that since a second appeal was expected on September 17 — when the U.N. is set to unveil a plan for relief and early recovery — donors are awaiting a clearer picture on what needs to be done.