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Sunday December 04, 2022

Flood aftermath: Trudeau announces Rs5.85bn additional aid

By News Desk
September 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The global community is responding generously in response to the UN and Pakistan’s joint flash appeal for rehabilitation of flood-victims as Canada pledged an additional $25 million (Rs5.85 billion) aid on Wednesday while the technology giant Meta promised Rs125 million.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeaau announced Canada will match donations to the “Humanitarian Coalition” in response to the flooding in Pakistan, and every donation made by individuals until September 28, 2022, will be matched up to a maximum of $3 million.

According to a press release issued by the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad on Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau also announced that Canada would allocate an additional $25 million of funding in response to the impact of flooding in Pakistan and to support development projects in the country, in addition to the $5 million the Liberals announced last month.

The funds, raised through the generosity of Canadians, will help the Humanitarian Coalition and its members deliver life-saving services, such as emergency food and nutrition assistance and emergency cash and vouchers, as well as necessary water, sanitation and health services, it added.

Pakistan has experienced its worst flooding in recent history, and Canada will continue to be there to help the people of Pakistan by supporting the humanitarian response to the crisis and longer-term development needs.

During his visit to Pakistan Minister of International Development Harjit S. Sajjan said Canadians believe in helping others in times of crisis. This is why the Government of Canada is joining with Canadians in supporting Canada’s partners on the ground in Pakistan that are providing urgent, life-saving assistance in response to this devastating flood.

Minister Sajjan also announced a $20 million contribution to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), via the World Health Organization and UNICEF, to support polio eradication efforts in Pakistan. This contribution is part of Canada’s ongoing $190 million commitment to the GPEI.

In addition, the tech giant Meta has also announced to contribute Rs125 million to the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), Hands, and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) to help communities impacted by the cataclysmic floods in Pakistan.

A statement released by Meta — the parent company of Facebook and other social media platforms — on Wednesday said that the donation will support emergency aid, food, water, sanitation and help children get back to school in Sindh, Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

“Pakistan is going through one of the worst natural disasters we have seen to date. Millions of people are affected and the entire nation is rallying to support them during this difficult time. We hope that our contributions help the communities impacted by the catastrophe and our thoughts are with these communities and families as they try to recover,” the statement quoted Director for Emerging Markets, APAC at Meta Jordi Fornies as saying.

The company said it had activated the Safety Check feature on Facebook when the floods hit Pakistan this July, allowing people to let friends and family know they were safe. Meanwhile, a crisis page was also established where people could use the Community Help feature to enable people to ask for and offer help from different communities.

Communities across various Meta-owned platforms have raised more than a million dollars for non-profits supporting flood relief efforts. Leading NGOs across the globe have also raised substantial amounts via Facebook and Instagram.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Pakistan Julien Harneis said that the international community had responded positively to joint $161 million flash appeal launched by Pakistan and the United Nations. He said Canada and other countries participated generously in an effort of rehabilitation of flood-victims.

“We will try to keep the media updated and will answer every question,” said Harneis, adding that the Emergency Relief Fund had announced $10 million.

He added that the initial flash appeal of $161 million might not be sufficient given the large-scale destruction caused by flash floods and requested the international community to donate more funds for the rehabilitation of flood-victims. He said that only $38.5 million have been received so far, as against the $150 million pledged by the international community.

Meanwhile, as many as seven unclaimed bodies recovered from floodwaters in Sukkur and Khairpur were buried by Edhi volunteers. The bodies were fished out from floodwaters on Wednesday and the Edhi volunteers laid them to rest on Thursday after fulfilling the burial procedure.

Director Rehabilitation PDMA, meanwhile, informed the coordination meeting of core committee of Humanitarian Organisation representatives that as many as 91,458 houses were damaged throughout the province since June 15. Of these, 37,523 houses were completely damaged while 53,936 houses were partially damaged.

The PDMA, district administration and other relevant departments evacuated 406,538 people to safe places before the floods while 69,775 people were rescued through rescue operations in different districts. Around 861,580 people were served cooked food while 265,435 people provided dry food.

The PDMA has already released Rs1.752 billion to the district administrations since July to deal with the emergency situation. As per policy, the fund could be utilised for compensation of the victims and relief activities.

The process of providing three meals a day, medical treatment and other necessary facilities to the flood victims is still ongoing with the support of donor organisations. The World Food Program will distribute ration to 32,000 families in the flood-ravaged districts.

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