Oxfam Australia Call for Response to Pakistan Floods

Oxfam Australia is concerned at the slow speed of the disaster funding being put into place to help the flooded people of Pakistan. Affecting almost 14 million people and counting, the flooding is now being described by U.N. officials as the world’s worst current disaster. Yet with only US$45m so far committed to help those in crisis, the breakdown is currently only US$3.20 per person. This is not enough.

The low figures being bandied around pale in comparison to other recent disasters that affected far less people. For example, almost US$110m was committed 10 days after Cyclone Nargis struck off the coast of Myanmar, which affected 2.4m people. These figures are also dwarfed by the US$247m pledged by the international community within the first 10 days of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, which left 3.5m people homeless.

Oxfam country director in Pakistan, Neva Khan, said –

The rains are continuing and each hour that passes the flooding is multiplying misery across the entire country. Swathes of Pakistan are still under-water and people have seen homes, shops, schools and crops flattened. The world must not leave these people stranded. This is a mega disaster and it needs a mega response. We have all been shocked by the ferocity and magnitude of this disaster. Everyone – donors, the UN, aid agencies, the government – all of us need to shift gear on this crisis. The people here are living in desperate conditions. This is the biggest disaster in the world right now and we all need to get behind it.

The Australian Government is one of only five to commit more than US$5m in response to the floods as Oxfam and partners mount responses across four provinces in Pakistan. This ‘mega disaster’ requires a huge commitment from world leaders and the U.N. to help the millions of people of Pakistan who have been affected by the floods. Oxfam Australia is calling for a global ‘gear shift’ in response to the crisis, as the funds that have been released so far will not be enough to stop this disaster from becoming far worse.

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