Islamabad, Sep 14 (EFE).- The United Nations on Wednesday said that it has received around $38 million in aid from donors in response to an appeal for $160 million following unprecedented rains and flood that have wreaked havoc in Pakistan.
On Aug. 30, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres made the appeal to help the more than 33 million people affected by floods in the country.
The Pakistani government has estimated the total damage inflicted by the floods at $30 billion.
Speaking at a press briefing in Islamabad, Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator for Pakistan, said that the priority is to provide relief to six million people that are most-affected by the tragedy.
“We got pledges of $150 million and we have recorded $38.35 million in terms of assistance so far,” Harneis said.
He added the funding would go either to national NGOs, to international NGOs or to UN agencies. Additionally, there is another financial flow and direct contributions which go to the government of Pakistan.
He clarified that the funding is not for reconstruction or rehabilitation but only for rescue and relief.
“The flash appeal is for the six month humanitarian life-saving phase,” said the UN country head. “Essentially we are looking at provision of food and looking at protecting livestock, health, nutrition and water, and shelter.”
The impact of floods on the country’s rural communities and agriculture has been devastating, resulting in the loss of crops, livestock, and essential infrastructure. The country is now facing an unprecedented food security crisis.
Agriculture production accounts for almost 20 percent of Pakistan’s gross domestic product, and 42 percent of its population is engaged in agricultural labor, most of them women.
Deputy Country Director for World Food Programme (WFP), Rathi Palakrishnan, said the food security situation is really dire, and food security levels in rural areas are devastating.
“Collectively (government, NGOs, WFP) we are looking at five million people who are being provided food,” she said.
Meanwhile, flights carrying relief goods from different countries and agencies, including the UN, have continued to arrive in Pakistan.
The ministry of foreign affairs said in statement on Wednesday that the south Asian nation has so far received 96 such flights, with the United Arab Emirates leading with 41 flights.
National Disaster Management Authority, the natural calamity response body, said on Wednesday that the death toll from the rains and floods since June 14 has risen to 1,486 while 12,749 have been reported injured.
NDMA added a total of 81 districts in the country have been declared calamity hit, and 546,288 people are still living in shelter camps. EFE