News / Asia

US to Provide More Aid for Pakistan Flood Victims

Flood survivor Kalo Jamali sits with his goats and a child in remains of his house destroyed by floods in the village Khairpur Nathan Shah, Pakistan, which is still surrounded by floodwaters, Nov 2, 2010
Flood survivor Kalo Jamali sits with his goats and a child in remains of his house destroyed by floods in the village Khairpur Nathan Shah, Pakistan, which is still surrounded by floodwaters, Nov 2, 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Ayaz Gul

The United States will provide another $190 million in aid for victims of Pakistan's devastating summer floods that caused widespread human and material losses. The money is part of a $500 million accelerated package Washington has diverted from the $7.5-billion Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid bill.

U.S. Acting Special Representative Frank Ruggiero has arrived in Pakistan on his first official visit. He took up the new responsibility in December when his predecessor, veteran American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, died in a Washington hospital.

After signing the $190-million aid agreement with the Pakistani finance minister, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, the American envoy told reporters the money will go towards the cash compensation program the government has devised for the 1.6 million families worst-hit by the floods.

"I am pleased to be here today to fulfill a pledge made by my former boss and Pakistan's great friend, Special Representative Richard Holbrooke ...   I know Ambassador Holbrooke would have wanted to make this announcement personally, as he was very committed to responding to the needs of the flood victims," said Ruggiero.

VOA's Susan Yackee speaks with correspondent Meredith Buel about what the return of MQM will  mean to the Pakistani government:

The worst-ever floods Pakistan's living memory swept north to south in July and August, destroyed entire villages, agricultural land, road infrastructure and affected more than 20 million people.  

While promising more U.S. assistance for flood victims and their rehabilitation process, Ruggiero reiterated Washington's calls for transparent disbursement of the aid money to needy people.

"We urge the government of Pakistan to quickly implement accountability mechanisms as agreed with the World Bank to enable the expeditious release of the U.S assistance," said Ruggiero. "We also encourage other donors to assist the people of Pakistan in overcoming these devastating floods by contributing financial support to the Citizen's Damage Compensation Fund."

Under the compensation fund program, the flood-hit families are receiving nearly $1,200 in financial assistance, but there have been widespread reports of mismanagement of funds. The allegations have prompted the World Bank to impose strict conditions before it backs the program.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's administration has been under fire from political opponents for poor governance and rising corruption in official departments. Transparency International in its recent report also has alleged corruption has increased in Pakistan within the past two years.

Ruggiero has arrived in the country at a time when Prime Minister Gilani's coalition government is struggling to survive. Recent defections of key political parties have deprived the governing alliance of a majority in parliament.

The second major coalition partner, known as MQM, quit the government a week ago, mainly protesting a hike in fuel prices on the eve of the New Year. In an apparent attempt to save his government from falling, the Pakistani prime minister told national parliament he is canceling the fuel price hike.

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs