News / Asia

UN Aid Chief Vows Not to be Deterred by Security Threats in Pakistan

Larry Freund

The United Nations emergency relief coordinator, John Holmes, said Thursday that foreign aid workers assisting in Pakistan's devastating floods will not be deterred by reported Taliban threats.

Holmes said those threats existed before the floods. He added that even during this disaster, the security situation has been relatively calm in recent weeks.

"We will obviously take these threats seriously, as we did before, take appropriate precautions.  But as I say, we will not be deterred from doing what we believe we need to do, which is to help the people of Pakistan.  And we hope that others will recognize that that's all we are doing.  We are not following any other agenda other than trying to help the very large numbers of people who have been affected by the floods," he said.

The U.N. emergency relief coordinator says 70 percent of the United Nations' call for assistance for Pakistan has been funded.  Counting the funds donated in addition the U.N. appeal, Holmes said donations are approaching $1 billion. "That's a reasonable response.  But we certainly need more because I think it's fairly clear that our initial appeal probably underestimated the needs because the needs have continued to rise in the last two weeks," he said.

Holmes anticipates that the U.N. aid appeal will be revised in mid-September and that the amount requested will go up significantly -- for emergency relief and initial recovery.

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