ISLAMABAD: The United Nat­ions will on Tuesday launch a $160 million Flash Appeal to help millions of people affected by unprecedented monsoon rains in Pakistan that triggered massive floods.

Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar, at his weekly media briefing, said: “A UN Flash Appeal is going to be launched on Tuesday 30 August simultaneously from Geneva and Islamabad.” He said the UN flash appeal was very significant, and it would trigger the international community’s response as well as bilateral assistance from other countries.

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his interaction with a group of envoys and diplomats on Friday said the government was reaching out to the friendly countries, donors and the international financial institutions for their continued cooperation at this difficult time. The meeting was attended by ambassadors and high commissioners of Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Kuwait, the UAE, Turkiye, South Korea, the US, and Germany. Senior diplomats of Bahrain, European Union, France, Oman, Qatar, the UK, and Saudi Arabia and the country representative of World Food Programme (WFP) were also present.

The international community’s response to the government’s appeal has been slow so far, while nearly 1,000 people, including 300 children, have lost their lives because of the rains and resulting flooding that impacted nearly 33 million people – almost 15 per cent of the country’s population.

Flash Appeals are made in response to sudden onset of disasters, when the government lacks the capacity to give a coordinated response and any single UN agency too cannot respond to the situation. The appeals fund urgent humanitarian needs normally for up to six months.

UN Resident Coordinator’s office and National Disaster Management Authority collaborated for the assessment of the needs on the basis of which the appeal would be launched.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2022

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