Pakistan: More Aid Needed as Flood Disaster Affects 17 Million

The ITUC is calling for a major increase in international aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan, as estimates of the number of people affected and damage to homes, buildings and infrastructure continue to increase. The United Nations has warned that the area affected is still growing from the current estimate of 160,000 square kilometres, with some 1.2 million homes destroyed or badly damaged and over 17 million people “significantly affected”.

Around 70% of the UN’s initial appeal of US$460 million has already been pledged by donors, with an additional US$600 million promised outside the UN appeal. The UN is now however preparing to increase its estimate of the amount needed.
“Past experience has shown that the levels of aid pledged do not always materialise. Along with the immediate need to provide food, clothing and shelter and to stop outbreaks of epidemic disease, a huge and sustained effort will be required to reconstruct the economy and rebuild infrastructure,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC has remained in close contact with its Pakistani affiliates the Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF) and All Pakistan Trade Union Congress (APTUC) since the onset of the floods. The PWF is providing food, clothing and clean water to victims via its regional organisations in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa (formerly North West Frontier Province), Southern Punjab, Interior Sind Province and Balochistan. Funding for the PWF humanitarian action has been raised from donations by its membership across the country, supplemented by a contribution from the ITUC Asian-Pacific Regional Organisation, and the Federation is continuing to raise funds for distribution via special regional committees set up for the purpose in the different provinces.

“The immediate focus must be on ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches all those who need it, but in addition, the international community must also be ready to work with Pakistan to deal with the longer-term impacts of this catastrophe, in particular ensuring decent employment for the country’s people. The ITUC will continue working closely with our affiliates, in Pakistan and internationally, to help ensure that the critical needs are met in the short-term and to help rebuild the shattered economy for the benefit of all the people of the country,” said Burrow.