News / Asia

Pakistan Flood Damage Assessed at $9.5 Billion

Pakistani officials say the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have assessed damage from the country's devastating floods to be about $9.5 billion.

That estimate includes damage to property, crops and infrastructure from floodwaters that swept through Pakistan earlier this year following monsoon rains.

Finance ministry officials said Wednesday it will take another $30 billion to reconstruct the nation's infrastructure damaged by the floods, and to rehabilitate those affected by the disaster.

"Almost 50 percent of the families who grow cotton lost their entire crop and there have been significant losses of rice and their crop reserve," says Sumayya Sajjad,  program coordinator for land rights and economic opportunities at the British charity Oxfam in Islamabad.

The floods submerged one-fifth of Pakistan, killing 1,700 people and affecting nearly 20 million others.

Sajjad predicts the damage may have irreversibly hurt the next planting season.

"If you just talk about that 40 percent of the households in the flood-affected areas lost all of their foodstock in the floods, and we are approaching the winter season and the planting season," says Sajjad. "There was a lot of silt and sand with these floods which have affected the soil really badly, so there is a chance that we might lose the season."

Sajjad also believes both government and relief officials were slow to understand the magnitude of the crisis.  

The World Bank and Asian Development Bank assessment is expected to be presented at a Friends of Democratic Pakistan meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

The United Nations has appealed for more than $2 billion for emergency flood relief efforts in Pakistan.

But U.S. officials say the country can not rely solely on international aid, and must raise billions of dollars to rebuild.

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