Pakistan Flooding: “We Calculate That the Needs Are Going to Be Absolutely Vast”

Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 04:27 pm

Washington, DC
August 30, 2010

Today at the State Department, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Dan Feldman, and Deputy Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Carol Chan gave a special briefing on flood relief in Pakistan.

Mr. Feldman said, "Currently, the flood crest from the Indus River is finally entering the Indian Ocean. The good news at this point is that in most places, waters are no longer rising but are finally receding, including in Punjab. There are still enormous concerns, though, particularly on the health front about stagnant water, on shelter issues, and the situation is still deteriorating in some parts of the country, particularly in Sindh, where 6 million people have been displaced and 4.5 million need humanitarian assistance.

"In terms of the USG response, we've kept you updated on the heavy airlift capability that we've undertaken. U.S. military and civilian aircraft continue to support flood relief operations. They've been flying sorties over the last few days. And to date, these aircraft -- USG aircraft, both civilian and military, have now evacuated close to 9,000 people -- it's over 8,800 -- and delivered more than 2.5 million pounds of relief supplies.

"We estimate that the civilian and military in-kind assistance -- the operations transporting halal meals, the temporary bridges -- is now at approximately $15 million. We haven't yet added that into our fact sheets. That's in addition to the $150 million in relief assistance that the Secretary announced at the UNGA special session and in addition to the $50 million in early recovery assistance from Kerry-Lugar-Berman funds that Dr. Shah announced in Pakistan last week.

"To assist in the continuing needs on heavy lift, there was also an announcement over the weekend that we would come close to doubling the amount of lift capacity of USG helicopters. Right now, we've got about 15 helicopters in theater. We are deploying another 18 additional helicopters. We'll be rotating some out that are currently there. But altogether, we aim to get close to 30 operating USG helicopters into the region in the next 10 days to two weeks or so. So the needs there are still very, very dramatic, and we are continuing to try to meet those as aggressively and robustly as possible.

"...Thus far, over 60 nations have committed more than $700 million, including the $200 million I just referenced, the 150 relief and the 50 early recovery. We now calculate that the UN response plan, the initial plan of $460 million, is about two-thirds funded. It's about 64 percent right now. But obviously, as the crisis response moves from this relief phase to the early recovery, and then recovery and reconstruction phases, we calculate that the needs are going to be absolutely vast."

You can read the full briefing here.
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Reply Mon 30 Aug, 2010 04:29 pm
I've been trying to get hold of several friends in the Punjab region for several weeks now... no response, no words available from others about them. Sad
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