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UN gathers pledges for two billion dollar Pakistan appeal

Norway nearly quadruples Pakistan flood aid
Oslo (AFP) Sept 19, 2010 - Norway said Sunday it would nearly quadruple its aid to Pakistan to 400 million kroner to help millions of victims of the country's devastating floods. "The situation is still highly critical for nine million people. We must now show our solidarity with the flood victims," said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere, who was set to take part in a United Nations-hosted meeting in New York later in the day aimed at securing more aid to Pakistan. "The Norwegian government is therefore providing additional emergency relief to Pakistan," he added in a statement, pointing out that the Scandinavian country had already provided 115 million kroner (14.5 million euros/19 million dollars) in aid to the flood-stricken country. On Friday, the international community appealed for a record two billion dollars in aid for the flood victims.

The Pakistan floods are "the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65-year history", UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the appeal. The floods caused by weeks of torrential rain have left less than 2,000 dead, according to an official toll, but the UN said they had exposed more than 20 million people to homelessness, malnutrition, risks of epidemics and loss of livelihood. The Norwegian government said Sunday its additional aid to the flood victims would be channelled through "the UN's humanitarian organisations, the Red Cross movement and other NGOs that have experience working in Pakistan". "It is especially difficult to reach the most vulnerable groups. Women and children are particularly at risk in this chaotic situation. It is important that we provide the protection they need," Norwegian Environment and International Development Minister Erik Solheim said in the statement.
by Staff Writers
United Nations (AFP) Sept 19, 2010
The United Nations gathered new aid pledges for the Pakistan flood disaster on Sunday after making a record two billion dollar appeal to feed millions of victims.

Twenty-five top ministers, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gathered in New York ahead of the UN summit this week, to discuss the new crisis in Pakistan.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called the floods "the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65-year history."

Norway more than tripled its emergency aid to Pakistan to 66 million dollars on Sunday. "The situation is still highly critical for nine million people. We must now show our solidarity with the flood victims," said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who is in New York.

Norway had already pledged 115 million kroner to the earlier Pakistan appeal and upped this to 400 million kroner (66 million dollars).

India has made an immediate 25 million dollar contribution to its rival neighbor as soon as the appeal was made on Friday. The main world powers have held back from announcing their response to the record UN appeal though.

The floods, caused by weeks of torrential rain have killed more than 1,700 people, according to an official toll, but the UN said the massive surge has exposed more than 20 million people to homelessness, malnutrition, risks of epidemics and loss of livelihood.

UN officials have compared the disaster to the Haiti earthquake and 2004 Asian tsunami even though the death toll is significantly lower.

The UN said money was needed to buy food, set up emergency camps, rebuild agriculture and villages which have seen drinking water and sanitation wiped out.

The flood water is still moving from the north of Pakistan to southern provinces causing huge new emergencies.

Agencies have warned of a looming health crisis with 709,000 cases of acute diarrhea, almost one million cases of skin disease, more than 800,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and hundreds of thousands of cases of malaria and dengue fever that are spread by mosquitoes.

"We simply cannot stand by and watch the immense suffering in a disaster of this scale," said Valerie Amos, the UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, announcing the mega-appeal.

The more than two billion dollars requested by 15 UN bodies will be used to help 14 million people over the next 12 months, the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

The previous record emergency appeal made by the UN was the 1.5 billion dollars sought after the Haiti earthquake in January.

Eleven billion dollars has been sought in humanitarian appeals this year, which the UN said was the most since they started in 1991.

The UN launched an appeal for 460 million dollars for Pakistan on August 11 and this is now 80 percent funded, officials said. The new appeal includes this sum.

The floods have affected more than 10 percent of Pakistan's population spread over an area bigger than 160,000 square kilometers (62,000 square miles). Some 1.9 million homes have been damaged or destroyed.

The UN secretary general and Pakistan Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will co-chair Sunday's meeting at the UN headquarters. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Britain's International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell will also be present.

earlier related report
UN to hold meeting on Pakistani floods
United Nations (AFP) Sept 19, 2010 - The United Nations was to hold a special ministerial meeting Sunday aimed at securing emergency aid for the millions of victims of devastating floods in Pakistan.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top foreign ministers were expected to attend.

On Friday, the international community appealed for a record two billion dollars in aid for the flood victims.

The Pakistan floods are "the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65-year history," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the appeal.

The floods caused by weeks of torrential rain have left less than 2,000 dead, according to an official toll, but the UN said the massive surge has exposed more than 20 million people to homelessness, malnutrition, risks of epidemics and loss of livelihood.

"We simply cannot stand by and watch the immense suffering in a disaster of this scale," said Valerie Amos, the UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, announcing the mega-appeal.

The UN is seeking to focus more international attention on the floods, which emergency officials have compared to the Haiti earthquake and 2004 Asian tsunami even though the death toll is significantly lower.

The 2,006,525,183 dollars requested by 15 UN bodies will be used to help 14 million people over the next 12 months, the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

The previous record emergency appeal made by the UN was the 1.5 billion dollars sought after the Haiti earthquake in January.

Eleven billion dollars has been sought in humanitarian appeals this year, which the UN said was the most since they started in 1991.

India was among the early contributors to the new call for cash for its neighbour and former arch-rival. It handed over a cheque for 25 million dollars at the UN headquarters.

The UN launched an appeal for 460 million dollars for Pakistan on August 11 and this is now 80 percent funded, officials said. The new appeal includes this sum.

The UN said money was needed to buy food, set up emergency camps, rebuild agriculture and villages which have seen drinking water and sanitation wiped out.

Agencies have warned of a looming health crisis in Pakistan with 709,000 cases of acute diarrhea, almost one million cases of skin disease, more than 800,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and hundreds of thousands of cases of malaria and dengue fever that are spread by mosquitoes.

The flood water is still moving from the north of Pakistan to southern provinces causing huge new emergencies.

"Yesterday, new breeches of the embankments of Manchhar Lake in Sindh flooded more villages. Millions of people have lost everything. Our task is to give people the help they need," said Amos.

The floods have affected more than 10 percent of Pakistan's population spread over an area bigger than 160,000 square kilometres (62,000 square miles). Some 1.9 million homes have been damaged or destroyed.

OCHA said there was "immense" damage that may take years to put right.

"Farmers who lost their crops and who are not able to plant their fields by November are likely to remain dependent on aid until well into 2012. Hundreds of thousands more lost their shops or other small businesses."

"In these difficult financial times, countries have been extremely generous in helping those in need around the world, contributing over five billion dollars to appeals this year," said Amos.

"But more is now needed. The government and the people of Pakistan have already done much to help families affected by these floods. We must also do our part -- we simply cannot stand by and watch the immense suffering in a disaster of this scale," she added.

The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it would give Pakistan a 451-million-dollar loan to help the flood recovery.




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