Pakistan floods: Mega Disaster Needs Mega Response Says Oxfam

The floods that have engulfed Pakistan over the last week are a mega disaster and the world needs to mount a mega response to ensure the millions affected get the help they need.

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Country drowning but funding slow compared with responses to other crises claims Oxfam.

(PRWEB) August 12, 2010

Country drowning but funding slow compared with responses to other crises claims Oxfam.

The floods that have engulfed Pakistan over the last week are a mega disaster and the world needs to mount a mega response to ensure the millions affected get the help they need, international aid agency Oxfam said today as it called for a “gear shift” in the response to the crisis.

The floods in Pakistan now affect almost 14 million people, and that number is likely to increase. The UN now describes the floods as the world’s worst current disaster but the speed of the response has been sluggish. As of 9 August, according to the UN’s financial tracking system, less than US$45m has been committed, plus US$91m pledged, which breaks down to US$3.20 committed per flood affected person.

This pales in comparison with the amounts committed to other crises. Within the first 10 days of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, which left some 3.5m people homeless, the international community had committed US$247m and pledged US$45m. This works out to US$70 committed per person, 10 days into the crisis.

In the first 10 days after Cyclone Nargis, which affected 2.4m when it struck off the coast of Myanmar, almost US$110m was committed (and US$109m pledged) in the first 10 days. This works out at US$46 committed per person.

Likewise some US$742m was committed to Haiti 10 days after the quake and US$920 million pledged. This works out at US$495 per person, in funds committed, in the first 10 days.

The Australian Government is one of only five donors to have committed more than US$5m for the response to the floods in Pakistan.

Neva Khan, Oxfam country director in Pakistan said: “The rains are continuing and each hour that passes the flooding is multiplying misery across the entire country. Swathes of Pakistan are still under-water and people have seen homes, shops, schools and crops flattened. The world must not leave these people stranded. This is a mega disaster and it needs a mega response.

“We have all been shocked by the ferocity and magnitude of this disaster. Everyone – donors, the UN, aid agencies, the government – all of us need to shift gear on this crisis. The people here are living in desperate conditions. This is the biggest disaster in the world right now and we all need to get behind it.”

Oxfam and partners are mounting a response across four provinces in Pakistan. So far the agency has reached more than 100,000 people with clean water and helped local groups evacuate 80,000 stranded people. The plan is to reach 650,000 people.

To donate to Oxfam’s appeal, visit http://www.oxfam.org.au or call 1800 034 034

Join our Facebook group to keep up to date http://www.facebook.com/oxfamaustralia or follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/OxfamAustralia

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