jump to navigation

Donors ignoring Pakistan flood appeals, aid agencies report: The Church of England Newspaper, Sept 30, 2011 p 5. October 5, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Pakistan, Disaster Relief.
Tags: ,
comments closed

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Donor fatigue has infected the international aid community, NGOs involved in Pakistani relief efforts report, with only a trickle of aid reaching the flood-ravaged country.

On 26 September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported the flooding had caused a “major humanitarian emergency, but the situation has not received sufficient international attention. At least 5.4 million people need help, and the number is growing. In some areas of Sindh, humanitarian needs are approaching the levels of 2010. This crisis requires an urgent response.”

In 2010, 18 million people in Pakistan were affected by the “largest floods in living memory, and they have not recovered,” the UN said. “Levels of food insecurity and malnutrition were already at emergency levels before this year’s rains.”

However, the international community has been slow to respond to requests for assistance with only eight per cent of the $357 million requested by the UN received within the first 10 days of the appeal. Five days after the 2010 Pakistan flood appeal was launched, $148 million, or 32 per cent of the total requested, had been raised.

“This is a cruel repeat of last year. Again funding is too little and far too slow. Donors must recognise the gravity of the situation,” said Neva Khan, Country Director of Oxfam in Pakistan.

Over 5.4 million people in Sindh have been affected by this year’s monsoon rains. Approximately 6.8 million acres of land have been damaged by the floods that have destroyed 73 per cent of standing crops, 36 per cent of livestock and 67 per cent of food stocks in the 13 worst affected districts of Sindh. In a province where already 72 per cent of the population is acutely short of food, Oxfam reports “this loss of crops means hundreds of thousands more people don’t have enough to eat.”

“Millions of innocent people, the majority of which are women and children, are in desperate need of the basics: food, water, sanitation, healthcare and shelter. If assistance does not come quickly, then a second emergency of rising malnutrition and rising water-borne diseases risks making a public health disaster a reality. There is no time to waste. We must all act now,” she said.

David Wright, Country Director for Save the Children Pakistan reported that at least four million children were at risk of hunger and disease from the flooding. “These people are now living on the edge and they need help fast. Aid agencies will not be able to meet the needs of millions of families unless countries start to take notice and bridge the funding gap,” he warned.

The Diocese of Hyderabad has also launched an appeal for funds, and hopes to raise $50,000 to support 100 families displaced by the flooding. But time is running out.

“People are living in desperate conditions. Each passing day puts more people at risk of deadly diseases, forces more people into hunger and destroys more futures. We are in a battle against time. Donors, the UN, aid agencies and the government, need to step up their response immediately. People need help now,” said Oxfam’s Neva Khan.