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Oxfam probes Pakistan flood 'irregularities'
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) June 6, 2011

British charity Oxfam on Sunday launched an investigation into "financial irregularities" in their Pakistan flood relief operation.

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is conducting an audit after concerns were raised that funds meant for victims in the southern province of Sindh did not reach their intended target.

The charity has been providing clean water and temporary shelter kits after an estimated 1,750 people died when floods hit in July last year.

"Oxfam is committed to upholding the strictest and most rigorous financial controls and ensuring its programme is being delivered in a transparent and accountable manner," the charity said in a statement.

"Oxfam's own internal monitoring and auditing system identified the financial irregularity currently being investigated," it added.

The charity said its top priority was to "ensure that donors' money was spent effectively" to "provide the support expected and committed to poor people in Pakistan.

"We are conducting this investigation to allow us to continue to be accountable to the communities that we work with, and ensure improved service delivery in the future," it added.

The charity confirmed it would "not be making any further financial commitments" until the investigation, which is expected to take three to four weeks, has been completed."

earlier related report
Relief agency warns on flooding, food shortages in Nigeria
Lagos (AFP) June 5, 2011 - Nigeria's major emergency relief agency Sunday warned that predicted unprecedented rainfall and heavy flooding this year posed a serious threat to food security in Africa's most populous nation.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in a statement warned food crops and animal husbandry farmers "of dangers posed by flooding that may cause serious damage and reduction of the yields of foods or death of animals."

NEMA director general Muhammad Sani Sidi has directed all the agency's six zonal offices across the country to begin to sensitise all stakeholders on "high risk threats of heavy rainfall" posed to food and animal production, it said.

The warning followed a recent weather forecast by the nation's official meteorological agency that Nigeria may experience an "unprecedented heavy rainfall this year" which may lead to flash flooding across the country.

Sidi identified crops such as pearl millet, rice, wheat, melon, beans and groundnut which are some of the staple foods in the country and which thrive on minimal rainfall for optimal yields, as being under threat of flooding.

NEMA urged government and donor agencies to provide excavators and water pumping machines to ensure water-logged farmlands are speedily drained while animals should be lifted to higher ground for safety against flooding.

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Australia flood costs blow out to $7 billion
Sydney (AFP) June 5, 2011
The damage bill from massive floods which hit northeastern Australia this year will likely be Aus$6.8 billion dollars (US$7.3 billion) - $1 billion more than previously thought - an official said Sunday. Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser revised the cost of the natural disaster which affected an area the size of France and Germany combined and was followed within days by the destructive C ... read more

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