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Need stressed for continuing assistance for flood survivors 

25 Januarie 2011 12:54:20

Need stressed for continuing assistance for flood survivors

Pakistan remains in need of humanitarian and early recovery assistance as a result of the devastation wrought by last year’s massive floods, the United Nations special envoy for the country said.

“Providing early recovery and reconstruction assistance in this phase is very complex, and a lot of work still needs to be done,” Rauf Engin Soysal, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Assistance to Pakistan, said at the end of a two-day visit to the southern Sindh province, where more than seven million people were affected by the floods.

Soysal said he was pleased to see the humanitarian community continuing its work to assist those who remain in need six months since the floods first struck the South Asian country.

“In close cooperation with the federal, provincial and district authorities, the United Nations and non-governmental organisations are providing emergency relief as well as early recovery assistance, which is urgently needed for the long-term recovery of the country,” he said after visiting the districts of Larkana and Sukkur in Sindh.

Accompanied by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan, Timo Pakkala, and the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the country, Manuel Bessler, Soysal met with provincial government officials and district coordination officers, and had separate meetings with Sindh’s Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, and Governor Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan.

Their discussions focused on how to strengthen the capacity of the Pakistani authorities to cope with disasters in the future, as well as the complexity of the current humanitarian situation in Sindh, where everything from emergency relief to early recovery and reconstruction is high in demand.

Currently, around two million people are receiving monthly food assistance rations in Sindh and hundreds of thousands of families have been provided with emergency shelter to bridge the gap between temporary and permanent housing.

“Even though more than 1.4 million people have returned to their homes in the province, many of them have not been able to move into their houses. Numerous buildings are still flooded or too unstable to live in, and the affected families continue to be in need of food, tents and plastic sheets,” said Soysal.

In addition to shelter, thousands of farmers whose crops were destroyed are also in need of longer-term assistance.

“In Sindh alone, 2.5 million acres of crops were destroyed by the floods, and it will take years for the land to recover. Assistance in agriculture is also important for long-term food security,” Mr. Soysal said.

In response to the flood emergency, the UN, its partners and the Government of Pakistan requested $1.96 billion to fund relief and recovery efforts. So far, 56.1 per cent or $1.1 billion of the amount sought has been received.

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