World Bank to provide $900m for flood relief

The World Bank said Monday the economic impact of the disaster on the economy was expected to be "huge."


Afp/ppi August 17, 2010

The World Bank said Monday it has agreed to provide a $900 million loan to flood-hit Pakistan, saying the economic impact of the disaster on the economy was expected to be "huge."

The funding will come from the International Development Association, the World Bank's arm for low-income countries, a bank statement said.

"The government of Pakistan has requested around 900 million dollars of financial support from the World Bank, which we have committed to provide," the statement said.

"The economic cost is expected to be huge," the World Bank said Monday.

Preliminary information indicated that "direct damage" from floods was greatest in the housing, roads, irrigation and agriculture sectors, the bank said.

It estimated crop loss to be one billion dollars, saying the full impact on soil erosion and agriculture could only be assessed when the water receded by mid-September.

Islamabad last week asked the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations to carry out assessments in the flood-hit areas in relation to damages, needs and recovery initiatives.

The two banks and the UN "will collaborate through participation and sharing of information on their respective assessments, and will also regularly coordinate with key donors," the statement said.

A "global facility for disaster reduction and recovery rapid response team" had arrived in Islamabad on Friday to help launch the assessment.

"If there is no fresh wave of flooding, the assessment can be completed by October 15," the World Bank said.

More flood aid for Pakistan

Pakistan received more aid pledges on Tuesday after concerns that money is not coming through fast enough to help 20 million people hit by unprecedented floods and stave off a "second wave of death" from disease.

Torrential monsoon rain triggered catastrophic floods which have affected a fifth of the country, wiping out villages, rich farm land, infrastructure and killing an estimated 1,600 people in the nation's worst ever natural disaster.

The United Nations last week launched an immediate appeal for $460 million to cover the next 90 days and UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited Pakistan at the weekend, calling on the world to quicken its aid pledges. Officials now estimate that 35 per cent of the funds have been committed.

Japan on Tuesday came forward to pledge an additional $10 million in emergency aid and Australia promised an extra $21.6 million. "There are grave risks that the flooding will worsen Pakistan's social circumstances but also its long-term economic circumstances will be potentially devastated," Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told ABC Radio.State media in Saudi Arabia said the country had raised $20.5 million in aid on the first day of a national campaign for the Pakistani floods.

Flood survivors cramped into sweltering tent cities or camping out along roadsides have hit out furiously against Pakistan's weak civilian government. Britain, which is emerging from a recent diplomatic row with Pakistan, branded the international response "lamentable" and charities said Pakistan was suffering from an "image deficit" partly because of perceived links to terror.

A UN spokesman said Monday he feared Pakistan was on the brink of a "second wave of death" unless more donor funds materialised, with up to 3.5 million children at risk from water-borne diseases. The World Bank also agreed to provide Islamabad with a loan of $900 million, warning that the impact of the disaster on the economy was expected to be "huge".

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has urged the world to speed up aid urgently, while Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the country could not cope on its own and warned the disaster could play into the hands of insurgents. "We fear we're getting close to the start of seeing a second wave of death if not enough money comes through, due to water-borne diseases along with lack of clean water and food shortages," Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

He told AFP that about six million people were at risk of deadly water-borne diseases, including 3.5 million children. Typhoid and Hepatitis A and E are also concerns, he said, adding that the World Health Organization is preparing to assist up to 140,000 people in case of a cholera outbreak.

The United Nations estimates that 1,600 people have died in the floods, while the government in Islamabad has confirmed 1,384 deaths. Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said about one quarter of the aid had come from his country and charged that some nations had not yet grasped the scale of the catastrophe.

"The response from the international community as a whole, I have to say, has been lamentable. It's been absolutely pitiful." Care International spokeswoman Melanie Brooks said the UN must explain to donor states that "the money is not going to go to the hands of the Taliban". "The victims are the mothers, the farmers, children," she said.

"At that very crucial time this natural disaster has affected the ability and the capacity and the economy of Pakistan," Qureshi told the BBC. "The damage and the magnitude is too large for natural resources to cope with it... Pakistan needs your help."

Germany increases aid

The German Government decided to substantially increase its assistance for the flood relief activities in Pakistan to Euro 15 million, equivalent to about $20 million, said a press release received here Monday.

Germany had announced assistance of Euro 2 million on August 5, which was increased to Euro 10 million on August 11. Now it has increased from 10 to 15 million euro, in view of the worsening conditions on the ground, said a message of German Foreign Office received today.

Germany has also contributed Euro 8 million, equivalent to $10.4 million to the European Union's assistance for the flood victims.

Total contribution by Germany for the flood affected people in Pakistan has risen to $30 million to-date. So far this year Germany has contributed a total of $36.4 million for humanitarian assistance to Pakistan.

US has faith in Pak govt usage of funds: Patterson

US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson said the US has faith in the Pakistan government's usage of  funds and that it will give $76 million in aid for the rehabilitation of flood victims.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, she said more than seven million people need help on emergency basis in the flood-hit areas of Pakistan.

The American ambassador said the US has given 500 tons of food , plus $30 million to Pakistan through NGOs and the United Nations. 500 tons of food has also been provided to Pakistan. She said the Pakistani community in the US is also collecting funds to help their countrymen.

On the occasion, US commander Micheal Fewer said 19 US helicopters are taking part in relief operations for the flood affectees.

COMMENTS (2)

Aftab Kenneth Wilson | 11 years ago | Reply Aid, from where ever it comes we must accept it with Thanks. Our Big Fat Cats both Industrialists and Legislators must "Do More" and should stop making fuss or excuses. Mr. Nawaz Sharif does not feels comfortable with any foreign aid, perhaps because he is not on the helm of the affairs. Reporters on the ground are seen giving written texts to the affected people, Gods knows why and which is more disturbing. It is high time that no one must play ugly games with this whole situation. We must all come out with what ever we can so as to help our brothers and sisters in this time of need. It is true that there is trust deficit but this is not only with the present government, it is for all politicians and also those who have been ruling before this government. The day we will put Pakistan first and other type of glorification last I know we can achieve all what other countries have achieved who got Independence in the same year or so. May Allah Bless our country and give us sense of responsibility.
Syed Nadir El-Edroos | 11 years ago | Reply While we line up for years of further external funding in the form of loans, our most patritic and nationalisitc upper class will continue to dodge taxes. flying a Pakistani flag on the 14th of August is nothing more than a token gesture, while the country is flooded by water and drained financially.
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