Clipping de Relações Internacionais

Aid for Pakistan Lags, U.N. Warns

Estados Unidos – The New York Times – 19/08/2010

UNITED NATIONS — With monsoon rains continuing in Pakistan on Wednesday and water-borne diseases reported spreading, international relief officials said the pace of aid donations was still not sufficient to deal with what might be the nation’s worst disaster.

“The scale of the response is still not commensurate with the scale of the disaster of almost unprecedented magnitude,” said Martin Nesirky, the spokesman for the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, reading a statement from the humanitarian affairs office. “This is a catastrophe that continues to unfold.”

The United Nations, which had been saying that as many as six million people needed some manner of emergency assistance — shelter, food, drinking water or medical care — estimated that figure could reach eight million.

Since the weekend the pace of pledges to the United Nations’ $460 million appeal has accelerated, Mr. Nesirky said, but it remains short of its target.

“The funding response to the floods is improving, but much more is needed,” he said. “The effort must be sustained in the days and weeks ahead in order to have the resources to reach the people who desperately need help.”

Shortages of the most basic supplies presented the biggest challenge for aid workers in Pakistan, along with the logistics of how to deliver them across a vast part of the country lacking infrastructure.

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that of the more than 15 million people the floods are estimated to have affected, only about 1.2 million had access to safe water supplies. In the most inundated areas, 200 of 1,167 health facilities — including several hospitals — were damaged. Reports of respiratory tract infections and fatal diarrhea were growing.

The United Nations began an appeal on Aug. 11 for $460 million to provide immediate aid to flood victims. By Wednesday, nations, organizations and individuals had sent $231 million, and had pledged an additional $40 million.

The United States was by far the largest single donor, with $82 million, according to United Nations figures, with Australia the next largest donor at $26.6 million. The United States said its total contributions amounted to $90 million, including helicopters, boats and temporary bridges, according to the State Department.

Not all the aid was flowing through the United Nations. Britain, for example, has sent more than $40 million, and the European Union said it would double its aid to more than $90 million.

Although the disaster has fallen in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when charity is considered a duty, Muslim states have donated virtually nothing via the United Nations and relatively small sums on their own. Turkey was the largest such donor, with more than $11 million, and Kuwait donated $5 million, United Nations figures show. Saudi Arabia has pledged more than $80 million, but United Nations records indicate none of it has been delivered.

To illustrate the size of the need, Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the United Nations relief effort in Pakistan, said aid agencies had received 935,000 tents, but more than double that number were needed.

The United Nations and the aid agencies through which it works have thus far delivered food to nearly 800,000 people, have helped get clean water to at least 1.4 million and have provided shelter to nearly one million. Medical stocks covering the potential health needs of 1.8 million people have also been provided.

“Unfortunately, this is only a fraction of what we need to do,” said Martin Mogwanja, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Pakistan.

The floods are not over.

“The Indus River is at 40 times its normal volume,” said Karen Allen, a Unicef official in Islamabad, the capital, in a statement from the humanitarian coordinator. “Whole cities, of up to 250,000 people, have been evacuated, and people have lost everything.” Official estimates put the number of destroyed houses at one million.


Acesso: 19/08/2010

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