WASHINGTON: The World Bank has informed Pakistan that it’s `re-purposing’ about $300 million of its funds for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.

Martin Raiser, the bank’s vice president, conveyed the decision to Pakistan’s Ambassador Masood Khan during a visit to the Pakistan embassy in Washington on Wednesday.

The ambassador apprised him of the flood situation and of the government’s efforts to deal with this unprecedented catastrophe, an embassy press release said.

The statement, however, did not explain which funds had been re-purposed or re­­d­irected. On June 9, the World Bank had approved $300m for upgrading rural roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The bank had also anno­unced another $300m fund in Dec 2020 for the Sindh Resilience Project and the Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project.

Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. It has received about $40 billion assistance over the last 72 years.

During the meeting, Ambas­sador Masood Khan informed World Bank officials that despite contributing less than one percent of planet warming gases, Pakistan “remains one of the most affected countries” by erratic climate changes.

“The recent catastrophe has reinforced the need to review our strategy from mitigation and adaptation to preparedness and resilience,” Masood Khan said.

The ambassador informed the delegation that the death toll from floods had crossed 1,350 while thousands have sustained injuries.

Over 6,500 km of roads and 246 bridges have been damaged. Over 750,000 heads of cattle have perished as well.

“With one-third of the country under water, farmers have lost their standing crops of cotton and sugarcane costing them a huge loss in an agrarian economy,” the ambassador said.

“The damage is way beyond what the government could alone tackle. We look forward to our friends, the international community, and our developmental partners to assist us in meeting this challenge,” he added.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2022

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