WASHINGTON: The United States said Thursday it has brought the total of US flood relief for Pakistan to 200 million dollars after diverting 50 million dollars from its long-term aid package to the country.
Before returning home Thursday from a visit to Pakistan, US Agency for International Development administrator Rajiv Shah revealed Washington will release the extra funds, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.
The funds will be used to provide relief after the flood waters recede, Crowley told reporters.
“This 50 million dollar latest block is money that will be redirected from other priorities under Kerry-Lugar-Berman,” the five-year package of 7.5 billion dollars in development aid adopted by Congress last September, he said.
He quoted Shah as saying the US government “will be reevaluating our projects, some of which are literally under water.” “Additionally, agricultural and economic infrastructure that has already been part of our (long-term aid) plan will become ever more important in the coming days and weeks,” Crowley said.
“But this brings ... the United States' support for Pakistan up to 200 million dollars in a combination of relief and recovery efforts,” he said.
Earlier this month, analysts predicted President Barack Obama's administration would redirect some of its long-term aid.
Ashley Tellis, an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the change is understandable given the scale of the disaster, “but it means that the aid program will continue to be a victim of a lack of focus.” Tellis said US officials had in recent months already modified the goal of the aid package from the original one of boosting democratic institutions to that of building infrastructure.
Infrastructure was seen as giving quicker, more visible benefits to the Pakistani people. – AFP