Australia Leading in Pakistan Appeal
Wednesday, 22nd September 2010 at 4:46 pm
Australia, with the UK and Norway is leading the way in responding to the new UN appeal for Pakistan flood victims but Oxfam International says other nations are slow to respond.
International aid agency Oxfam says the international community has let down the millions affected by the Pakistan floods with its lukewarm response to the revised UN appeal.
Oxfam says Australia, the UK and Norway responded generously to the new call, however most other countries have failed to respond.
The appeal for Pakistan stands at US $2 billion and is the biggest ever appeal for a natural disaster but Oxfam says it is just 21 percent funded.
Australia and the UK have more than doubled their contributions to Pakistan – with Australia bringing its total to $75 million and the UK bringing its total to £134 million. Norway has more than trebled its assistance to over US $66m. No other donors, except for Malta – which announced a contribution of just over US $19,000 – have pledged new money for the revised appeal.
Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett says Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was right to warn about the risk of further devastating disease outbreaks in Pakistan if the international community did not provide more funding for disaster relief efforts.
Hewett says other countries need to follow Australia’s lead and provide more funding as this is the biggest disaster in the world right now, and it is not over yet.
The worst funded areas of the new appeal are education, which has only nine percent of the funds it needs, and agriculture, which has just 12 percent.
Over 8,600 schools were damaged in the disaster, and more than 3,600 schools are being used as shelters for those displaced by the floods.
Oxfam says more money is needed to help establish temporary learning centres and rehabilitate schools for an estimated 1.8 million children currently missing out on education.
Some 80 percent of the people affected are farmers and many have lost their crops and livestock.
Nigel Young, deputy head of Oxfam’s emergency response on Pakistan says that without more funds the crisis will get deeper.
Young says there is a small window of opportunity to make things better, but the more donors delay the more they put this in jeopardy.
Oxfam is helping one million people caught up in the Pakistan floods, one of its biggest emergency responses worldwide. To donate to the appeal, click here.