ISLAMABAD: As the United Nations is all set to launch a $161 million ‘flash appeal’ on Tuesday (today) to provide critical food and cash assistance to Pakistan in the wake of unprecedented floods that have killed over 1,000 people and displaced millions, humanitarian aid supplies from across the world continued to arrive in the country on Monday.

Although the government and the humanitarian partners are working to provide immediate relief to the flood-hit populace, the United Nations urgently needs $34.28 million to scale up immediate relief efforts, Dawn has learnt.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan Julien Harneis called for “burden-sharing and solidarity” in the wake of a “climate-change driven catastrophe” which is expected to worsen. She said diseases and malnutrition are expected to rise in the post-floods scenario.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) is rapidly expanding its food assistance support in Pakistan. WFP aims to reach nearly half a million people in Balochistan — where it already supports nearly 42,000 people in five districts — and Sindh. However, distributions are currently on hold due to connectivity issues.

Body says $34m urgently needed to ramp up relief efforts; Japan, Belgium, UAE, Singapore pledge aid

The United Arab Emirates began an air bridge to transport humanitarian aid to Pakistan that included shelter materials, food, and medical parcels. The UAE authorities also contacted Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, APP reported. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “UAE has pledged 20 aircraft sorties flood relief equipment to assist the flood victims across Pakistan.”

Global aid

Japan also decided to provide emergency relief goods consisting of tents and plastic sheets through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The emergency relief goods are expected to arrive at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, today.

Furthermore, an emergency food relief project was signed by German Consul General Holger Ziegeler and Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP) CEO Dr Shahnawaz Khan in Karachi to provide food aid to at least 1,000 families for two months in Lasbela.

The envoy stressed the swift response to mitigate the flood devastation and said: “We are shocked by the devastating Pakistan floods. Early response is crucial!”

Similarly, Belgium, via B-FAST, will offer Pakistan 300 tents to shelter a total of 1800 people.

On the other hand, the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) is committing $50,000 to support flood survivors and the affected communities. The SRC will also launch a public fundraising appeal to support the relief and recovery operations.

SRC’s contributions will directly support the humanitarian response by Red Cross and Red Crescent partners on the ground, including the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The PRCS is currently providing relief assistance in 23 of the most affected districts.

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund

With over 670,000 households affected by the intense floods this season, the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) allocated Rs250 million for the flood emergency relief programme to provide immediate assistance in the nine worst-affected districts.

The relief package includes temporary shelters, food ration packs, hygiene kits, water purification tablets, medical supplies, livestock vaccination and other items of need.

Similarly, the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) disbursed an amount of Rs 8.88 billion among the 353,119 flood-affected families under the BISP Emergency Flood Relief Cash Assistance Programme. BISP said affected families can send their CNIC number to 8171 to receive payments.

Corporate sector

The PTCL Group announced an Rs1.75 billion package in addition to the medical support, and the company has also decided to form a team of volunteers for the flood relief efforts. The PTCL health centers which include 13 doctors and 27 paramedical staff will extend required support in eight districts across the country.

The package also includes donations to the PM’s relief fund and NGOs along with the provision of free calls in flood-affected areas, housing loans to displaced people, and medical facilities. The management of PTCL also asked its employees and staff to voluntarily give donations for the flood relief efforts.

Meanwhile, Ufone announced free calls for people in the flood-hit regions. The U Microfinance Bank has pledged low-cost housing loans.

Kalbe Ali and Bakhtawar Mian also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2022

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