Some $1.1billion remains unfunded in the UN’s current Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan, even as donor countries begin to gather in Pakistan to discuss rehabilitating communities hit by floods and support the reconstruction effort.
“This is the third major donor meeting since the floods — it’s action that’s needed, not endless talking," said Fatima Naqvi, Oxfam’s acting country director in Pakistan. "Funding for humanitarian work is in danger of drying up, yet the needs are still enormous, especially as winter approaches and nearly seven million people are still without shelter.
More than 20 million people across Pakistan were affected by the floods. Nearly two million
homes were damaged or destroyed; roads and bridges were swept away and schools and hospitals damaged.
“It is time donors showed leadership. They must commit long-term funds and ensure money starts to reach those who need it now, rather than making empty promises. Pakistan needs greater support to get back on its feet and rebuild from this devastating crisis,” Naqvi said.
It is estimated that losses to public and private property amounted to more than $10 billion, according to a recent World Bank and Asia Development Bank Damage Needs Assessment Report.
The impact on the country’s already fragile economy has been devastating. Agriculture, which accounts for 21 per cent of the economy and 45 per cent of employment, was particularly hard hit. The floods wiped out more than two million hectares of crops and killed millions of livestock and poultry.
While the response from some donors and the public has been generous, the UN’s Pakistan flood appeal for just under $2 billion is still only 43 per cent funded. Many relief and emergency programs are in danger of being closed due to funding shortages.
Oxfam says reconstruction can present a new opportunity to tackle Pakistan’s chronic poverty and inequality.
“The needs of the poorest and most vulnerable must be placed at the heart of the relief and reconstruction effort," Naqvi said. “It’s crucial that communities are consulted in assessing and prioritizing reconstruction needs.
"It is also a chance for the authorities to take greater steps towards a more equitable distribution of land and prevent flood-affected families falling into debt bondage. Land ownership is an important safeguard against poverty. But in southern Sindh, the area worst-hit by the floods, its estimated 60 per cent of people are landless and many now have huge debts.”
Oxfam and its partners have supported initiatives in Sindh to redistribute state-owned land to poor landless women peasants. The agency says the program should be fully completed, closely monitored and rolled out to other provinces.
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