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UN boosts funding of relief effort in wake of South Asian floods

UN boosts funding of relief effort in wake of South Asian floods

John Holmes
The United Nations humanitarian arm is stepping up its financial support of governments across South Asia as they try to help the estimated 45 million people affected by the recent deadly flooding across the region.

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes announced today that the world body will provide up to $20 million to assist governments and to boost the in-country capacity of the UN and its partner non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

At least 2,200 deaths in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan have been linked to the floods, caused largely by particularly heavy monsoon rains this year. Government figures indicate that more than four million hectares of crops have also been damaged.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that the most urgent needs include food, temporary shelter, medicines and mosquito nets.

The UN has already allocated about $4.4 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to Pakistan to help that country respond to heavy rains and flooding last month in the wake of Cyclone Yemyin and monsoon rains.

But Mr. Holmes said the recovery effort there is being hampered by the fact that the UN has received less than one-third of the $38 million it appealed for to complement the emergency activities of the Pakistani Government.

About 2.5 million people were affected by those floods, which hit Baluchistan and Sindh provinces hardest in late June and early June. Over 300 people were killed and more than 240 others remain missing. At least 700,000 people have not been able to return to their homes and live in makeshift roadside camps or in collective centres such as schools or other public buildings.

“For most families affected by these floods, the recovery of their livelihoods will be arduous and protracted,” said Mr. Holmes, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. “Six weeks with nothing but uncertainty can feel like forever. I hope that donors will respond quickly and generously.”

South Asia is not the only region where the UN is helping with flood relief activities, drawing from the CERF. In Colombia, about $2.2 million in funding has been approved to support the Government’s efforts in the Mojana region and the Córdoba department, which have suffered from floods and landslides. And in Sudan, around $2.7 million will be given to help with relief efforts in the wake of recent floods, particularly in the north.