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Saturday, September 18, 2010
ASIA: PAKISTAN: FUNDING NEEDED TO SUPPORT FLOOD VICTIMS
Asia News report: Corruption, bad management and discrimination in aid distribution are slowing down fund raising efforts in donor countries and helping Muslim extremists among flood victims. Punjab’s chief minister urges donors to send more aid, assures them that transparency informs the efforts of local authorities. In his province alone, more than six million people are affected by the catastrophe.
Lahore (AsiaNews) – In southern Punjab, delays in relief efforts in flooded areas could favour extremist Muslim groups who are playing a wider role in helping displaced people, Punjab’s Chief Minister Mian Shahhbaz Sharif said at conference in which he asked donor nations to send more aid. He insisted that civilian and military authorities would make sure that relief and rehabilitation would be carried out above board. “I assure all the donor institutes and countries of the world who are donating funds for the flood affected people of Pakistan that funds for flood victims would be disbursed transparently".
During the conference, Sharif listed all the efforts made by the government and the armed forces since the crisis began. He said that local and national authorities had already provided each affected family with US$ 200 for reconstruction. He also noted that the authorities would provide farmers with free seeds and fertiliser.
More than six million people have been affected by the recent floods in Punjab alone. More than 1,770 villages have been submerged, causing damages to the local economy estimated at around a US$ 1 billion.
However, more and more cases of corruption are coming to light, including stories about fake NGOs and discrimination in the distribution of humanitarian aid. This has raised eyebrows in the international community, discouraging fund raising in Western nations.
In fact, Oxfam officials in Great Britain yesterday said that the situation is even worse than thought before, calling on donor countries to provide more funds for flood victims.
According to the United Nations, 70 per cent of the affected people does not have access to drinking water, and about 80 per cent have no access to sanitary facilities or even water to wash themselves because of possible infections.