News / Asia

Pakistani Envoy: Billions Needed to Rebuild After Floods

Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Ambassador Zamir Akram gestures during a press conference focusing on recent flooding in Pakistan, 17 Aug 2010
Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Ambassador Zamir Akram gestures during a press conference focusing on recent flooding in Pakistan, 17 Aug 2010

Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations, speaking in Geneva, says billions of dollars will be needed to rehabilitate and reconstruct Pakistan, which has been devastated by the worst floods in more than a generation.  The ambassador is pleading for greater support from the international community to answer the desperate needs of more than 20 million flood victims, many of whom have seen their homes and livelihoods destroyed.

Pakistani Ambassador Zamir Akram predicts a bleak future for his country if greater international support is not forthcoming.  He says the scale of the disaster is enormous and the tragedy is continuing to unfold.  

He notes an area the size of England, is covered by the floodwaters.  He says the Indus River, which runs from North to South into the Arabian Sea, in normal time is three kilometers in its widest part.  Since the floods, this has swelled to a width of 35 kilometers.

Flood-Affected Areas


The ambassador says more than one million hectares of the country's food and cash crops have been destroyed.  He says damage to roads, bridges, health clinics, schools and other infrastructure is extensive.

Expensive operation

Akram says the relief and rescue phase of the operation is expensive.  But, adds this pales in comparison to the cost of rebuilding the country.

"Initial indicators are that just for the northern part of Pakistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, the requirement would be in the tune of about $2.5 billion," Akram said. "So, it is going to be a massive effort for reconstruction and rehabilitation.  And, according to our estimate, the time it would take would be around five years."  

Fraud fears

Ambassador Akram dismisses media reports that donors are reluctant to support Pakistan because they fear their money will end up in the pockets of corrupt individuals.  He says he can guarantee all money donated for humanitarian operations will go for the purposes intended.

He also is critical of reports claiming the Taliban are winning the hearts of flood victims by delivering aid the government is not providing.  

He calls this an exaggeration and an unnecessary distraction.  He says the real issue is helping the people.

"If you really want to stop these kind of extremist, fundamentalist types from gaining influence through their humanitarian activities, then the answer to that is not to not give any assistance, but to give more assistance so that you can make their contributions insignificant," Akram said.  "That is the way that you can overcome this possibility." 

Help needed

Aid Agencies Providing Relief to Pakistan Flood Victims

In the US text SWAT to 50555 to make a $10 donation to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

For More Information

The United Nations has appealed for $460 million to provide food, water, shelter, medical and other emergency assistance to the flood victims.  The U.N. reports only 35 percent of that appeal has been received.  

As of now, Akram says Pakistan has received $301 million in multilateral and bilateral aid.  He says this is not enough to provide millions of people with basic life-saving relief.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Pakistan will be hosting a special session on the flood-ravaged country at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Thursday.  

Ambassador Akram says he hopes this gathering will lead to greater international commitment and support for Pakistan's rescue and relief effort and subsequent rehabilitation and reconstruction plans.


Google Person Finder Tool

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid