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Updated: August 17, 2010 08:01 IST

World Bank agrees to provide $900 million to Pakistan

PTI
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Flood survivors struggle for biscuit packets in Muzzafargarh. The World Bank has agreed to provide $900 million financial aid to Pakistan which is facing devastating flood that has affected 14 million people. Photo: AP
AP Flood survivors struggle for biscuit packets in Muzzafargarh. The World Bank has agreed to provide $900 million financial aid to Pakistan which is facing devastating flood that has affected 14 million people. Photo: AP

The World Bank has agreed to provide give a $900 million financial aid to Pakistan which is facing devastating flood that has affected 14 million people.

“The Government of Pakistan has requested around $900 million of financial support from the World Bank, which we have committed to provide,” the World Bank said in statement.

The funding for this would come from the Bank’s Fund for the Poorest (the International Development Association, IDA) through reprogramming of currently planned projects and reallocation of undisbursed funds from ongoing projects.

On August 11, Pakistan had asked the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to undertake a Damages and Needs Assessment in the flood-hit areas, and the United Nations (UN) the Early Recovery Needs Assessment.

The World Bank, the ADB, and the UN will collaborate through participation and sharing of information on their respective assessments, and will also regularly coordinate with key donors.

The Bank and ADB have mobilised staff and a Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) rapid response team arrived in Islamabad on Friday last to help launch the assessment.

“If there is no fresh wave of flooding, the assessment can be completed by October 15,” the Bank said.

The current floods have now affected over 14 million people, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), with some estimates putting the figure considerably higher.

The affected area covers 132,421 km, including 1.4 million acres of cropped land. Continuing rains have caused additional flooding and hindered relief activities.

The scale of destruction exceeds that of the 2005 earthquake.

“The economic cost is expected to be huge,” the Bank said.

Preliminary information indicates that direct damage from floods was greatest in the housing (current estimates are that 723,000 houses have either been destroyed or damaged), roads, irrigation, and agriculture sectors.

Crop loss was estimated at $1 billion.

The full impact on soil erosion and agriculture could only be assessed when the water recedes, by mid-September.

A grant of $1.3 million has also been made available by the GFDRR to support the Damage Needs Assessment, rescue and relief efforts, and to strengthen disaster management and longer term disaster risk reduction.

“We used some of this grant to purchase Rescue Boats, delivered to the government on Friday last. With the support of donors, we are also prepared to use the newly operational Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for the northwest border region to finance recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation,” the Bank said.

“We are working with the Government to re-prioritise our planned projects and review ongoing projects for possible reallocation to reconstruction activities,” it said.

Some immediate priorities we have agreed with the government are reallocating USD 10 million of existing undisbursed funds to the National Disaster Management Agency providing fast-disbursing additional funds to retroactively finance imports needed for early recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation, such as fuel, steel, cement, and related goods and services.

It has also accelerated delivery and expansion of a planned Emergency Operation for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)/Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to include flood-affected districts.

The bank is working with the government to help ensure that disaster funds are spent for their intended purpose.

Going forward, in addition to the needs assessment and subsequent assistance with long-term reconstruction, the Bank will be making other contributions to the repair and rehabilitation of critical infrastructure on the Indus River to help with future flood prevention.

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