World needs to reinvigorate relief efforts


KARACHI: Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations (UN) Abdullah Hussain Haroon has called upon the world especially Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) the need for reinvigorating their efforts of raising funds for Pakistan, stating that the poor are still struggling to keep their heads above water in various flood-affected areas in Sindh and lower Punjab.
The Pakistan Ambassador to UN was speaking at the meeting of the OIC group convened at the UN Headquarters to review the recent visit of UN Under-Secretary General for OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Valerie Amos to the flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan.
A statement issued on Friday from the Karachi residence of Haroon said that nearly a million people still remain under stress and suggested that the UN should nominate an international personality like former US president Bill Clinton to keep up the support.
The ambassador underscored the need for the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan to speed up their efforts in completing their required demands before the international community loses its interest. Amos supported the suggestions of Haroon and said that she would discuss the proposal with the UN Secretary General.
The OCHA under-secretary general apprised the OIC group of her Pakistan visit and solicited support for the flood-affected people and an early recovery plan.
Sharing the details, she said the survivors of the disaster are still in need of support as floodwaters have not receded in parts of Sindh, where over 160,000 people are still living in relief camps.
Referring to the Pakistan Development Forum meeting at Brussels in November, she said the forum had greatly helped in putting together a long-term strategy for the reconstruction.
She mentioned that $957 million had been received so far out of the total pledge of $ 1.93 billion under the appeal that would expire in July 2011.
Warning that funds would not increase significantly if the issue was not kept high profile, Amos asked for long-term commitment and support in reconstruction from the international community, as 1.7 million homes were destroyed and almost 14 million people were still in need of aid.
Highlighting the importance of shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation, education, food and health care, she underlined the need for the continued support of relief activities, while the focus shifts to development and the reconstruction phase.