The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday announced a $2 billion concessionary loan to Pakistan for the rehabilitation of its flood-ravaged areas, mainly by reallocating its existing lending portfolio.
The announcement was made at the eve of ADB director general for Central and West Asia Department Juan Miranda’s visit to Islamabad who has come to discuss the rehabilitation and reconstruction plan with the government and other donors.
“We will ensure that money from donors is used in the right way, at the right time, and in a totally transparent manner,” Miranda said.
The ADB pledges come amid rising concerns over the sluggish nature of the international response to the flood disaster which is attributed to the transparent use of the donors’ money. The World Bank has already announced to re-appropriate $ 900 million from its existing funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction work.
Finland contributed 3.2 million euros for Pakistan’s flooding disaster on Thursday in addition to 1.2 million euros that it committed last week. Besides this sum, Finland is providing humanitarian aid worth 1.3 million euros.
France on Wednesday sent a plane loaded with 70 tonnes of aid to Pakistan as part of a UN-backed international effort to help the country overcome the disaster, the foreign ministry said. The shipment includes 35 tonnes of emergency equipment - tarpaulin, cisterns, blankets, jerrycans and kitchen utensils - as well as 250 kilogrammes of water-purifying tablets and 200 makeshift shelters. France had already provided an initial one million euros.
Japan said on Thursday it will send a military helicopter unit to help the relief effort following Pakistan’s devastating floods. Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa ordered the defence forces on Thursday to prepare for the dispatch in response to a request from the Pakistani government, his ministry said in a statement. Japan is expected to send a unit of six transport helicopters and more than 300 troops on the relief mission, Kyodo news agency said. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told reporters that an advance team of about 20 officers were to leave for Pakistan on Thursday. Tokyo has already extended 14.4 million dollars worth of emergency aid to help Pakistan cope with the disaster.
Saudi Arabia has donated a further 80 million dollars to flood-hit Pakistan, boosting a national campaign collection to 400 million riyals - 106.6 million dollars, local press said on Thursday. King Abdullah has ordered the allocation of 300 million riyals “on behalf of the Saudi people,” Saudi Gazette daily reported quoting an official statement. Saudi Arabia on Monday launched a national campaign to raise aid for the victims of the worst flood to hit Pakistan in 80 years, with the campaign already collecting more than 100 million riyals, the daily said. King Abdullah kicked off the campaign by donating 20 million riyals, and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz offered 10 million riyals, press reports said.
The third in line to the throne, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, also gave five million riyals to the cause, according to the reports. The kingdom has so far sent 21 planeloads of aid to Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Saudi ambassador to Islamabad Abdul Aziz Alghadir has said the Saudi Development Bank has allocated 20 million dollars in aid for flood victims, Saudi Gazette reported.
(With additional input from Shahbaz Rana and AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2010.
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