$490m raised for flood-hit Pakistan

Donors have come forward with nearly 500 million dollars in aid for flood-hit Pakistan, with the United States, Saudi Arabia and Britain leading the way, figures showed on Friday.

The Financial Tracking Service (FTS), a UN database that aims to track all donations, showed late Friday that 490.7 million dollars has come in for Pakistan’s floods, with another 325 million dollars promised.

Just over half came via the UN’s emergency appeal fund while the rest came via bilateral aid, chiefly from Saudi Arabia, charities or private organisations and companies.

The UN launched a 460-million-dollar appeal for donations on August 11, saying this was the amount it estimated was needed by Pakistan to recover from the disaster.

According to the FTS, 263 million dollars has been donated via the appeal — 57 percent of the target — with the lion’s share of that total, 88 million, coming from the United States.

The United Kingdom has donated 34.7 million via the UN fund while Australia has given 26.6 million and the European Commission 18.6 million.

“It is very likely that the need for donations will strongly increase because, since our estimate (of August 11), the number of people in need of immediate humanitarian aid has risen from six to eight million,” Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Islamabad, said.

The UN will have to revise its target within 30 days following the launch of the appeal, Giuliano said.

“We are working on it,” he said, adding that the UN had increased its estimate of the number of people without shelter from two million to six million in the first 10 days.

“We have already provided shelter for a million people (106,000 tents and 70,000 blankets) and ordered shelter for a further 2.4 million, which is in the pipeline,” he said.

“We have more than doubled the rate at which we are delivering relief but, since August 11, the number of people who need emergency help has undoubtedly more than tripled. We are in a race against time,” he added.

The United Nations on Thursday led a meeting to raise support for Pakistan after the worst floods in its history — a disaster which UN chief Ban Ki-moon called a “slow-motion tsunami”.