Pak asks UN to mobilise int’l help for flood victims
REZAUL H LASKAR
Islamabad/Karachi, Aug 15: Hit by an unprecedented crisis, Pakistan’s top leadership today appealed to the United Nations to send a strong message to the world community and foreign corporate leaders to help the country in providing relief to millions of people affected by the floods.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani raised the issue with visiting UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived here today to boost relief efforts for the 20 million people affected by the deluge.
Zardari called for greater international support and aid to cope with the “gigantic task of relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims” and the reconstruction of damaged property and infrastructure.
He briefed the UN Secretary-General about the damage to life, property and infrastructure.
He also cautioned that the total damage may be far greater than the initial estimates.
Zardari said the challenge was too big for any government to face on its own and Pakistan needed the support of the international community and donor agencies.
During his meeting with Ban, Prime Minister Gilani called on the UN to send a “strong message to the international community, foreign corporate leaders and civil societies to show solidarity with Pakistan and its flood victims in this hour of need”.
Gilani hoped the UN General Assembly’s plenary meeting on the floods in Pakistan on August 19 would serve as a catalyst for mobilising much needed international support.
He identified provision of tents, food, water, medical supplies and water filtration plants as the immediate requirements of the victims.
Shortly after flying into the Chaklala military airbase near Islamabad this afternoon, Ban Ki-Moon told reporters: “I’m here to urge the world community to speed up their assistance to the Pakistani people”.
Ban expressed grief at the loss of lives and massive destruction of infrastructure and told President Zardari that the UN would stand by Pakistan in these critical times.
He pledged the UN’s continued support and assistance for humanitarian relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.
Following their meeting, Zardari and Ban Ki-Moon visited some of the flood-affected areas.
Over 1,700 people have been killed by the floods, which also washed away roads, bridges and communications infrastructure in a wide area ranging from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest to southern province.
The Pakistan government plans to approach international bodies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for damage and needs assessments that will be used to seek aid from the international community.
The UN has issued an appeal for 460 million dollars for an emergency response plan.
However, foreign countries have been slow in providing aid due to concerns about corruption and the Pakistan government’s poor handling of the crisis.
Several countries have routed their aid through NGOs and international bodies like the UN and its agencies.
After causing havoc in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Punjab provinces and in the northern areas, floods have now ravaged the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. Authorities say until now the floods have left around four million homeless.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 15 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 16 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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