Donors skittish as UN launches aid appeal

Published: September 18, 2011

A flood-affected woman sits on high ground near the flooded area on the outskirts of Badin. PHOTO:AFP

A flood-affected woman sits on high ground near the flooded area on the outskirts of Badin. PHOTO:AFP
Sindh Pakistani flood affected villagers struggle for free food on a street. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE
LAHORE/HYDERABAD: 

Even as the United Nations launched a global appeal for $357 million to help flood victims in Sindh and Balochistan, international donors have made it clear to the government that they will not donate a penny to Islamabad unless they receive a clear blueprint for third party audits of where their money is being spent.

This revelation was made by Punjab Governor Abdul Latif Khosa during a press conference at the governor house in Lahore on Sunday.

“They [donors] want a transparent mechanism in which all damages and losses should be evaluated by a reputable third party,” Governor Khosa told reporters.

The $357 million appeal is only to garner initial “life saving assistance to the most affected people” said the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, Timo Pakkala.

(Read: Govt has provided reasonably well, but ability to respond not enough, says UN coordinator)

The reluctance – which borders on outright refusal – to help Pakistan overcome its second devastating floods in successive years is seen as an indicator of a serious lack of global credibility for the administration of President Asif Ali Zardari.

When asked to explain the international community’s skittishness, the governor evaded the question, saying only that “foreign aid should not be made controversial.”

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had launched an international appeal for funds which was met with a paltry $4.7 million pledge of donations from China, though Iran has promised another $100 million in aid, the only foreign government so far to come forth with any significant assistance to Pakistan’s flood victims.

While the appeals continue to be made on a daily basis, the government appears to have all but given up on the idea that any foreign government would be willing to help Pakistan. Governor Khosa, returning from a whirlwind tour of the flood-affected areas of Sindh, appeared morose and downtrodden when he said that it was up to the people of Pakistan themselves to help those in need.

The governor announced that the Punjab government would be holding a concert in Lahore, where Rahat Fateh Ali Khan would perform. Tickets would be sold for Rs10,000 a piece. He expected to raise up to Rs100 million from that initiative.

PM’s visit

Meanwhile, Gilani rounded up his two-day visit to the six calamity-hit districts of Sindh with pledges of help for relief for the flood victims and their subsequent rehabilitation. He started off his visit from Nawabshah, Sanghar and Hyderabad on the first day and visited Tharparker, Umerkot and Mirpurkhas districts on Sunday. Besides observing an aerial view of the submerged areas, the PM also met people in the relief camps.

“Each affected family will be given a Rs20,000 grant through Pakistan Cards, and they will also get stipends from Pakistan Baitulmal and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP),” Gilani said while visiting relief camps in Naukot and Tharparker.

Gilani said that he has directed the army to use helicopters to provide relief, food and health services to people in the marooned areas.

The premier made appeals to independent donors, friendly countries and non-government organisations to take part in the relief and rehabilitation efforts and requested all political parties to come forward and help the affected people.

No discrimination

A significant proportion of the population in Thar and Umerkot districts comprises minority communities, especially Hindus. These marginalised people, according to some reports, were being discriminated against in the distribution of relief goods. Citing such reports, the prime minister directed the officers to monitor and ensure a no-discrimination policy.

“All people are equal before the government and Hindus are our brothers. The government will extend them all facilities given to other affected people,” he assured.

Agriculture

The torrential monsoon rains and the ensuing flooding in canals and saline water drains have destroyed around 1.7 million acres of agricultural land, according to government estimates. But the farmers’ representative organisation puts the losses far beyond the government’s calculation.

Gilani met a delegation of the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture, led by its president Dr Syed Nadeem Qamar, at the Circuit House Hyderabad, and turned down the farmer’s demand to waive loans for land holders cultivating around 50 acres.

“The prime minister said they can’t waive the loans because the growers who suffered from floods last year didn’t either get a write-off either,” Nabi Bux Sathio, who was representing farmers during the meeting, told The Express Tribune.

Estimates

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) some six million people in all 23 districts of Sindh have now been affected by the floods with another 824,000 displaced.

Thousands of people are stranded on hillocks and roofs, with the government unable to meet more than 30 per cent of funds needed for emergency rescue and relief efforts, it said in a joint news conference with the UN.

(Read: Thousands trapped in flood-hit Sindh)

The UN said its assessment showed that nearly every district in Sindh had seen flooding, as well as five districts of Balochistan, killing 342 people and injuring 633 others so far.

(With additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Sep 18, 2011 - 4:33PM

    Why any body wants to help Pakistan when a killer like Khadri are garlanded and projected as a hero.

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  • Eeman
    Sep 18, 2011 - 5:05PM

    That’s the amount Apple gets every three months from Google by letting Google keep its search bar in iPhone.

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  • punjab
    Sep 18, 2011 - 6:27PM

    @Eeman: do they have to do this?they are doing something that Pakistani government is incompetent to carry out so instead of being ungrateful how about you put things into perspective.

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  • SaudiRules
    Sep 18, 2011 - 6:48PM

    How can people of “land of pure” accept aid money from the infidel west again? We haven’t been able to “purify” ourselves from last years aid from the infidel west/amreeka and now this?This hurts our ghairat. Down with amreeka down with west! It is time to burn american dharna and flag burning. Where is our khaki mouthpiece Imran Taliban Khan?
    P.S. Most of the UN donors are europe/us and japan.

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  • Xyz
    Sep 18, 2011 - 7:21PM

    Where did China go?

    Send Zardar/Kiyani to China to get $300mil.

    China had promised would never abandon Pakistan!!!

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  • H.A. Khan
    Sep 18, 2011 - 7:51PM

    Looking at the lack of confidence International community has in governance in place in Pakistan, very un-likely they will reach out and help and even if aid is committed it will not materialise even to the extent of 50%. 2010 floods are a good example. look at what happened at the Friends of Democratic Pakistan meetings ,commitments and what actually was given.

    Pakistan needs to learn to stand on it’s own feet and be honest to it self and it’s citizens.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 18, 2011 - 8:20PM

    I hope the UN raises the money — but Pakistan continues to do things that tarnish it’s reputation and how people perceive you will impact their desire to help you.

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  • antanu
    Sep 18, 2011 - 8:31PM

    @sajan….and what about millions of innocentd effectef. Having this mindset snd still claim yourself to be better than pskistanis.Recommend

  • Sep 18, 2011 - 9:29PM

    @Sajan Basha:

    we do not need Indian rupees. thanks and keep away.

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  • Anthony Permal
    Sep 18, 2011 - 11:02PM

    So wait, we spent how many billions on defence again?

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  • optimist
    Sep 18, 2011 - 11:15PM

    These are empty promises. Big donors only make promises.
    /
    Last year only UAE/KSA/Turkey kept its promise. Rest of the world just announced Big sums which are yet to be seen (more than 70% is still not delievered)!

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  • Shafaaqat
    Sep 19, 2011 - 12:32AM

    i remember public doing the bulk of relief work last time along with the likes of Imran Khan and few other prominent figures. Time demands the same again, we can solve our problems if we stand united. Many would object to it but this is true, I am sure the 90% living in peace can help those 10%, its just matter of realizing the need of time, Please stop looking to these external forces, step foward and help your brothers. Its our country and we are bound to strive for its betterment no matter peace, war or any natural climaty.

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  • haris
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:38AM

    @Shafaaqat:
    ” I am sure the 90% living in peace can help those 10%, “

    I think its the opposite figure you have stated in your comments.

    If you consider the Terrorism and Suicide attacks in KP,
    Gang wars and Warlords fighting in Baluchistan to gain control over the resources,
    Target killings, robbery, dacoity, a blazing others property are daily doses in Karachi,
    Vandals in power in Southern Punjab,
    Extreme poverty in Sindh which unfortunately turns out a symbol of the very Land,
    Religious tension roaring in the Northern Areas including every part of Gilgit and Baltistan,
    Killing of dozens of innocent people in the tribal belt,
    ….
    and the list goes on…
    I think this makes less than 90% of the population who you think are living in peace.

    sounds scaring! isn’t it?

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  • Ashamed
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:56AM

    Should a nuclear power worth its salt beg year after year to sort out its flood problems and yet not cut its spending on nuclear bombs?Recommend

  • Malik Sajjad
    Sep 19, 2011 - 3:15AM

    we have lot of staff we do not need foreign staff

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  • Sengathir Selvan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:16AM

    Iran was supposed to give 800mm dollar…has it been accounted?

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  • Pundit
    Sep 19, 2011 - 6:23AM

    @ Optimist: “Last year only UAE/KSA/Turkey kept its promise”

    Being ungrrateful is one way to lose sympathy and aid.

    What about the massive US assistance.. the devil country u hate but dont even acknowledge their help?

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  • Anthony Permal
    Sep 19, 2011 - 10:43AM

    @Arsalan:

    Excuse me? How can you decide that hundreds of thousands of flood victims don’t need Indian rupees in donations?

    For once in your life keep your blind hatred and nationalism aside and think like a human instead of a typical hater. If India wants to help, LET them.

    A father or mother who has children dying of fever and cholera in the flood waters and who haven’t eaten in 3 days don’t give two-hoots about what country the money belongs to!Recommend

  • Sad but true
    Sep 19, 2011 - 11:53AM

    @optimist: You are correct. What was hidded from you is that other nations gave (more than names mentioned by you) was never recorded in Govt’s book. It was re-directed into Swiss accounts.

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  • Pragmatist
    Sep 19, 2011 - 11:54AM

    The reason why donors are hesitant is because the last time the floods happened, the money collected was used by Pakistan to add to their nuclear arsenal instead of the money going to the flood victims.

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  • Sad but true
    Sep 19, 2011 - 12:08PM

    For those non beliveres of what the donors are asking for in return to give aid, the following headline was published in one of you local newspaper:

    ‘Gilani made to visit ‘bogus’ relief camp’ – The relief camp that PM Gilani visited was “artificial” and set up in a hurry in a high school in Kathri after evicting “genuine” rain-affected people and bringing in “favorite farmers” of political personalities, villagers told reporters on Sunday. Flood-affected villagers Ali Raza Jarwar, Ahmed Mari, Jan Muhammad Mari and Syed Hashim Shah said before the arrival of the prime minister, police baton-charged the rain-affected people taking shelter in the Kathri school.

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  • ayesha
    Sep 19, 2011 - 12:18PM

    “ickets would be sold for Rs10,000 a piece. He expected to raise up to Rs100 million from that initiative”.
    If you do the math, 10,000 people would have o attend the concert to raise so 100 milion at the rate of 10,000 rupees a ticket..Is that a realistic assumption? Has any concert ever been held in the last 10 years i Pakistan where 10000 people actually attended?

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  • Hedgefunder
    Sep 19, 2011 - 12:56PM

    I think there is a misprint in relation to Iran’s contribution in Aid !!!
    They donated $10 million dollars, not 100 million !!!!!
    They too are not in position to be that generous !!!!!

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  • Saad
    Sep 19, 2011 - 2:43PM

    Want to help Pakistan? Remove this selfish, good for nothing, idiotic so called “democratic” government from Pakistan.. Please that is more than enough for us.

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  • vasan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 3:10PM

    Why is it that not a single word about contribution from Pakistani diaspora. That is a big source that Pakistan can tap, even if the foreign govts do not help. And what about the stinking amounts for money slashed abroad by the Pakistani elite. Cant they lend a helping hand now ?

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  • syed Imran
    Sep 19, 2011 - 3:16PM

    For the Poor Impression of Zardari-Gilani duo, the whole nation suffers and now the beleaguered citizens of Sindh will suffer much more because of reluctance of donors.

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  • Pundit
    Sep 19, 2011 - 3:37PM

    Why cant Pakistan sign a no war pact with India , reduce the defence bill by 50% and divert that savings to Flood relief?

    Isnt it better to be friends with a country that u were part of 63 years ago than to be subservient to powers that have reduced the pride, dignity and economy oi Pakistan to shambles?

    Sp simple yet to impossible!

    Recommend

  • Anthony Permal
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:21PM

    @vasan:

    What a disgusting insult to the overseas Pakistanis who contribute more to Pakistan’s economy per year than all international aid!

    I was a part of the UAE efforts of aid for the 2010 flood victims and we worked tirelessly day & night working on fund-raising, collection and loading of containers of food, clothing and shelters etc.

    Tens of millions were remitted from UAE alone. For once, stop insulting your overseas brethren.

    Recommend

  • gvm
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:51PM

    Very heartening to see Human lives rendered to no less than animals due to nature’s ire. While Govt can save itself from criticism saying it was nature’s fury but they can’t shy away from the fact that if the large hearted donors are restraining from help doubting the ability of govt, it is grave injustice to those affected and govt is fully responsible for this. Recommend

  • Javed
    Sep 19, 2011 - 4:53PM

    @optimist: Donors do not give to ungrateful people. Last year the biggest amount of aid was given by the US (which we have conveniently forgotten out of hatred) and the Marines helped so many people by air lifting them out of water. The GCC did not give a single penny till Richard Holbrook made a public appeal to them and then coaxed them to give some aid. This time around the world has just ignored the ungrateful nation.

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  • All BS
    Sep 19, 2011 - 5:19PM

    Forget international donors, even citizens of Pakistan wont give a penny to this corrupt government. Really feel bad for the people of Sindh, but did they expect any different?Recommend

  • vasan
    Sep 19, 2011 - 5:45PM

    Anthony Permal: My comment is not to insult at all. Like in 2010 , Pak should tap the diaspora instead of pleading international donors. I am sure there are lots of well to do pakistanis abroad who will be willing to donate thru appropriate channels. Where was the insult in my comment? And I guess the second source of funding indicated by me didnt interest u that much, because they dont donate ??

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  • Waqar Ahmed
    Sep 19, 2011 - 7:10PM

    For the past few weeks, strange news regarding a new government has been circulating in the media and some television anchors are even trying to give a timeline for the event. Pakistan is certainly going through a tough time with the worst flood that has once again hit Pakistan. Our media, instead of focusing on the flood victims, has shifted its attention to the government’s weaknesses and is continuously hinting at an ‘imminent’ change in the government. This is not how a responsible media acts. The media is one of the major stakeholders in the country and is considered an important pillar of society. In order to ensure political stability in the country, our media should focus on more important things instead of predicting a change in the government.

    Recommend

  • Sep 19, 2011 - 7:26PM

    We need to change and prevent such corrupt leaders to rule on us again by stopping fake votes and fake democracy otherwise our country will remain in such miserable condition.
    We need to get rid of such rulers…Recommend

  • Arindom
    Sep 20, 2011 - 3:04AM

    @Arsalan:
    “we do not need Indian rupees. thanks and keep away.”

    —-it is precisely this attitude of yours that has all foreign donors “skittish”.

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  • Sep 21, 2011 - 12:25AM

    Being a Humanitarian worker I would simply advocate the stance of Donor Agencies for submitting the documents by the government to justify each penny spent on the welfare of the community. I being the International Community worker myself knows that much of the donation is consumed by international organizations on their personal amenities and luxuries.

    A part from this when the amount reaches the grass root level it doesn’t/cannot make a real difference.

    In the light of above facts Pakistan’s image would be tranished.

    As far as the Sindh disaster is concerned I would rather term it as a Man made disaster instead of a Natural Disaster. The reason behind my statement takes me back to the reality that Sindh is mostly a land dominated by Feudal Lords. The disaster was mainly caused by the breaches in embankments made on LBOD. Now LBOD is Asia’s biggest drainnage which in itself has a fault structure. When it started flowing 10 times above its capacity why did it actually flooded the areas?

    Refer back to my statement of Sindh’s Feudalism. Feudal lords have carved out several small/big canals in order to provide water to their crops. As soon as the drainage was filled with excessive rain waters, the same canals coming from LBOD started breaching embankments and caused inundation.

    We people need to realize and choose our responses now ownwards. This country is ruled by those that are pursuing self interests. In this country nobody talks about a prosperous nation rather propering politicians. Thats all i have to say. Unfortunately according to one report Pakistan has only 200 disaster experts in the country of 180 million population that themselves are trained to deal with climates such as hurricane, earthquake and war disasters. None are there to deal with flood disasters.

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  • rehmat
    Oct 13, 2011 - 1:10AM

    “The governor announced that the Punjab government would be holding a concert in Lahore, where Rahat Fateh Ali Khan would perform. Tickets would be sold for Rs10,000 a piece. He expected to raise up to Rs100 million from that initiative”

    If each ticket is worth 10,000 rupees and 100 million are to be raised then 10,000 people need to attend that concert. Does Lahore have 10,000 people who are able to afford a 10,000 rupees ticket and also is Punjab government able to provide security to such a large concert? I know that lately large concerts are no longer held due to bomb blast threats.

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