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- Thursday, June 30, 2011 - From Print Edition


LONDON: The UK aid agencies raised 71 million pounds in their Pakistan floods appeal last year, the third highest amount raised for a humanitarian disaster, according to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), the umbrella organisation of British humanitarian groups.


The DEC itself raised 41 million pounds and member agencies raised 30 million pounds, an appeal only surpassed by amounts raised for the 2004 tsunami and 2010 Haiti earthquake.


Monsoon rains that began in late July 2010 were the most severe in Pakistan’s history. The flash flooding in the mountains of the north-west eventually spread to the south, through the Indus and other river systems, to engulf an area the size of the UK. Aid provided emergency shelter for 290,000 people, clean water for 510,000, and safe toilets for 160,000.


Figures for the Pakistan appeal were released as the DEC published a report by the ThinkAhead international development consultancy, which assessed the DEC’s response to the floods.


The report found that DEC agencies initially struggled to meet the most urgent needs of the worst affected survivors as they began returning in vast numbers from temporary camps to their ruined villages within weeks of being displaced.


“All disasters are a tragedy for those caught up in them, but the Pakistan floods were exceptional because of the vast number of people affected,” said the DEC chief executive, Brendan Gormley.


“The response to our appeal was extremely generous and the UK public can be proud that the massive aid effort they helped fund has already provided support to 1.8 million people.” The report urged agencies to carefully pick local NGO partners, given the negative image of local NGOs in some areas.