News / Asia

UN Seeks $460 Million for Pakistan Flood Victims

Margaret Besheer

The United Nations appealed Wednesday for nearly $460 million in emergency aid for victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan.  U.N. Humanitarian Chief John Holmes said the money is needed to help the more than 14 million people affected by the flooding during the next 90 days.  

The heavy monsoon rains started wreaking havoc in Pakistan last month, ravaging several provinces as rivers overflowed their banks and torrential rains swept away homes, infrastructure, crops, and livestock.  The floods have claimed at least 1,600 lives and left nearly two million people homeless.

John Holmes told U.N. member states the assessment of losses and damages is still under way, but it is already very clear that these are the worst floods in Pakistan for more than 80 years.

"While the overall death toll from this disaster has been relatively low compared with large numbers of people the government estimates to have been affected, unless aid activities are rapidly scaled up to reach those who remain displaced and without immediate access to food and clean drinking water, additional loss of human lives and further suffering will occur," said Holmes.

He warned the risk of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera, are particularly high.

Martin Mogwanja, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, said that the World Health Organization has already recorded high levels of gastroenteritis and acute watery diarrhea.  There is also concern there may be a cholera outbreak.

"I want to underline the risks of a second wave of mortality due to water-borne diseases if we do not act immediately and at scale to ensure the availability of clean drinking water, hygiene and health care, together with comprehensive surveillance to understand exactly what is happening with disease across the whole country," noted Mogwanja.

The $460 million appeal will fund food assistance, clean water, shelter, medical care and other emergency relief for the millions affected by the floods.

The government of Pakistan is leading the relief and recovery efforts.  Pakistan's U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Haroon expressed concern that with continued rains predicted, the floods could continue for the next couple of weeks, causing further death and destruction.

Ambassador Haroon said in addition to the significant humanitarian toll, the government fears an economic disaster as well, with its cotton industry particularly hard hit.

"The fear is that this flood might affect the entire Gross Domestic Product [GDP] production of Pakistan by over one to 1.5 percent gross," said Haroon.  "Where the GDP expansion this year is advocated at about four percent, you can imagine what that is going to mean."

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said prior to Wednesday's appeal, many countries had already pledged funds and/or supplies to Pakistan in the area of about $150 million.  Among them is the United States, whose total commitment is about $71 million.  It is too soon to say how much of the U.N.'s $460 million appeal has been funded, but early commitments Wednesday were around $10 million, with additional equipment and supplies promised.

Flood-Affected Areas

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs