ISLAMABAD: The United Nations will be launching a fresh appeal on Oct 4 for an additional $600 million in support to Pakistan for providing immediate relief to millions of flood victims across the country.

In a follow-up meeting of the Steering Committee for Coordination of Inter­national Assistance for Flood Relief Activities, Eco­no­mic Affairs Division (EAD) Secretary Humair Karim told bilateral donors and international and domestic aid and relief agencies that the UN would launch the revised humanitarian appeal on Oct 4 for $600m additional relief assistance.

He said the UN launched a flash appeal on Aug 30 for $160m assistance for flood relief support, but the grant was not considered enough in the face of the unprecedented devastation.

The government has estimated that its economic growth rate would fall massively to 2pc during the ongoing fiscal year, against 5pc budgeted target, owing to devastation caused by heavy rainfalls and flash floods, which affected more than 33m people, mostly in Sindh and Balochistan.

The meeting was attended by the representatives from the United Nations Development Programme, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, embassies of Turkiye and China, the British High Commission, Pakistan’s foreign, health and food ministries, the Benazir Income Support Programme, the National Disaster Management Authority and EAD.

The steering committee was constituted by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif last month for better coordination among international development partners and effective and efficient provision of international assistance to the flood-affected areas.

The meeting was informed that international assistance had come from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Turkiye, China, the European Union, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Norway, Jordan, Austria, Nepal, France, Turkmenistan, Russia, Indonesia, Greece, besides UN agencies like UNFPA, WHO, FAO, Unicef, UNHCR, and WFP.

An official statement said the EAD reported that Pakistan was currently in the first phase of immediate relief efforts by providing people in flood-hit areas with food, shelter, medical facilities, mosquito nets, etc.

The health ministry informed donors about the spread of waterborne diseases, malnourishment in children and the urgent need for proper medical care for pregnant women in the flood-affected areas and requested the maximum provision of medical supplies, including hygiene kits, delivery kits, anti-malarial medicine, etc.

NDMA briefed the participants about the flood’s impact on the country and the mechanism to distribute relief goods.

Mr Karim told the participants that the damage needs assistance report would be ready by Oct 15 to provide a complete picture of the overall damages due to the floods and actual aid needs.

The preliminary damage needs assessment completed last week had put the total losses and reconstruction costs of flood-related damages at about $30 billion, which was subject to change following on-ground verification — a mandate given to a core group of international agencies and development partners like the UN organisations, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Union and friends like Turkiye.

The government has already redirected $303m in donor funding towards flood relief efforts. This included $300m of funds in the pipeline from an ongoing World Bank programme and $3m from the ADB, which has promised to approve $1.5bn next month for early disbursement to Pakistan for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Based on federal and provincial reports, a core group of World Bank, the ADB and UN agencies comprising 100 experts from almost 17 sectors would work with the steering committee on floods to verify and reconcile damage needs assessment in line with international best practices.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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