A man passes a truck that slipped off a flooded road in Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province, August 22 2010. Floods are threatening to wreak havoc in more areas of south Pakistan in a catastrophe that has made the government more unpopular and may help Islamist militants gain supporters.
European aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva is travelling on August 23 2010 to areas of Pakistan hard-hit by flooding and will meet authorities and relief experts, as well as with people affected by the floods, the European Commission said.
Raging floodwaters have inundated more districts in southern Pakistan, where officials say the world has given or pledged more than $800 million to help the country cope with its natural disaster, the Voice of America said on August 22.
Pakistani authorities have diverted their resources and rescue operations toward southern parts of Sindh Province, where rising river waters have hit at least four more districts, including urban areas. The floods forced tens of thousands of people in the region to flee for higher ground.
Exceptionally heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan triggered the worst floods in northwestern Khyber-Pakhtoonkhawa Province three weeks ago. Raging floodwaters have since inundated thousands of villages and towns across central Punjab, southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces, VOA said.
United Nations aid agencies are stepping up efforts to provide assistance to millions of flood victims in Pakistan as the crisis continues to unfold. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning that th preventive measures must be taken to head off the outbreak of water-borne and communicable diseases.
"The international community is mobilising to provide aid to help the victims of the floods," Elisabeth Byrs of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told a news conference in Geneva, the UN News Service said on August 20.
"The situation is still unfolding… in some areas the flood waters are receding to reveal the utter destruction left behind, while in other areas the flood waters continue to rise, destroying homes, villages and crops."
She said that the $460 million emergency response plan launched last week is now 55 per cent funded, with an additional $42 million in pledges.
Thanking all those who have contributed to boost relief efforts, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the generosity of countries and individuals will make a real difference in the daily lives of millions of people.
"We must keep it up. This is not just Pakistan’s hour of need – Pakistan is facing weeks, months and years of need. Now is our chance to turn the tide towards hope and a better day for all of the people of Pakistan," he said in a statement issued today, following a special General Assembly meeting on the issue.
Georgieva announced on August 18 that the Commission would mobilise an additional 30 million euro in urgent relief assistance. This latest funding will bring the total humanitarian aid funds allocated by the European Commission to assist the flood-affected populations to 70 million euro, the EC said.
Georgieva said: "The flood damage in Pakistan is massive and many millions of people are suffering. The additional funds will be used to boost the humanitarian aid operations carried out by the European Commission's humanitarian aid partners. Commission's relief experts are also active on the ground in Pakistan. They are working with our partners to ensure that funds are being used in the most efficient way possible to the benefit of the desperate victims of these disastrous floods."
Since July 31, the European Commission has provided 40 million euro in humanitarian aid for the flood victims in Pakistan. In the past 12 months, the Commission has provided a total of 111.25 million euro in humanitarian aid for people in need in Pakistan, not including the request announced on August 18.
The European Commission’s humanitarian aid and civil protection department (ECHO) has a support office in Islamabad.
"ECHO experts closely follow the developments in the humanitarian situation and monitor the use of the Commission's relief funds," the EC said.
The Commission-funded humanitarian projects are implemented by non-governmental relief organisations, specialised UN agencies and the Red Crescent movement.Activities covered include health, food, water and sanitation, (emergency) shelter, non-food items (blankets, plastic sheets, hygiene sets, kitchen sets, etc.), psychological support, emergency communication, livelihood support and protection.
Relief partner organisations which have received funds or are in the process of receiving imminent support include Acted, ActionAid, Concern, Cordaid, Danish Church Aid, Hope87, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), International Organisation for Migration (IOM), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Merlin, Oxfam and Save the Children.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated on August 6.
The EC said that the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) within ECHO is in touch with the 31 countries participating in the mechanism, of whom several are providing in-kind assistance to Pakistan (e.g. water purification units, emergency health kits, tents, electric generators). A MIC liaison officer is in the ECHO office in Islamabad to facilitate the co-ordination of EU civil protection assistance and to liaise with the UN system.