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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.
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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.

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‘Don’t make Burundi an aid orphan’, archbishop tells Parliament: The Church of England Newspaper, July 29, 2011 August 3, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Burundi, Church of England Newspaper, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi appeared before the House of Commons’ International Development Committee urging a rethink of the Department for International Development’s (DfID) closure of its aid programme in Burundi.

Cutting support to Burundi would make it an “aid orphan,” the Archbishop said on 5 July, as Western support for Africa has been cut sharply in the wake of the global economic downturn.

Committee chairman, the Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce, the member for Gordon (Lib-Dem) opened the meeting asking if the Archbishop could explain why the British government would end support for Burundi’s poor. “Given the fact that Burundi has absolutely clear developmental needs, right across the spectrum by almost any criteria you care to select, why do you think the UK Government decided that it should bring the programme in Burundi to a close and, at the same time, increase the contribution it is making to all the neighbouring countries?,” Mr Bruce asked.

Archbishop Ntahoturi responded that this “question actually is at the core purpose of our visit.”

The DfID has proposed ending its £12 million in aid to the East African nation. Archbishop Ntahoturi noted that “in Burundi is a lot of money” even though the total “given to Burundi by UK standards was relatively small.” It was nonetheless a necessary component in the democratic and economic redevelopment of the country.

Burundi was one of the “poorest countries” in the East African Community the Archbishop said and was “also coming out of a 15 year war.” “We are still suffering from the impact and consequences of war” that ended two years ago, the Archbishop said.

However the peace was fragile. “I am worried,” the Archbishop said, by what he was hearing from the poor that “people are not at peace. The signs that we see show that, if we are not careful, there might be another war in Burundi, because most of the young people who were demobilised do not have jobs.”

Patrick Watt of Save the Children testified before the committee that Burundi made good use of the funds given by the DfID. “Burundi has scored fairly highly” and its programmes provided “value for money” based upon DfID criteria for aid, Mr Watt said. “It was difficult to see why Burundi was having British aid withdrawn.”

Ending British aid will mean “almost 70,000 students-children who will not be able to go to school. That would mean almost 45,000 women who were helped by the maternity services, who will not be assisted. That will mean that justice, in a country that has been at war, the police and others will not be accompanied and not be helped.”

The member for Watford, Mr Richard Harrington (Cons.) questioned the Archbishop’s figures, asking how the withdrawal of £12 million would cause such chaos. The Archbishop responded that “the World Bank, the UN, the EU, the French, the Belgians and the Luxembourgers have never decided, have not told us, that they will take over from what DfID was doing.”

Sweden has “also withdrawn its aid, and other donors are thinking” of pulling out, the Archbishop said. “When the programmes are cut off, there is a void. That void will affect the wellbeing of the people,” Archbishop Ntahoturi said.