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UNITED NATIONS: The World Food Program (WFP), a Rome-based UN agency, has said it is supporting Pakistan as the country takes stock of floods which have killed more than 1,000 people and displaced some 33 million, while the UN and Islamabad will launch a formal appeal for $160 million to fund emergency aid for Pakistan amid catastrophic floods in recent history.
Through its National Disaster Management Authority, the Pakistani Government – which has declared a national emergency – is leading the response in coordinating assessments and directing humanitarian relief to affected people.
Since June, flooding and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rainfall have brought widespread destruction across Pakistan, creating its “biggest challenge” in decades, according to Julien Harneis, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country.
He has called for “burden-sharing and solidarity” internationally in the wake of the “climate-change driven catastrophe.”
According to news reports, a third of the country could be left underwater as the monsoon weather continues, and the death toll is likely to rise as more rivers burst their banks, washing away roads and bridges, with many communities in the mountainous northern regions cut off.
WFP has been asked to assist in the emergency response, and staff are working with the authorities and partners to expand food assistance.
The aim is to reach nearly half a million people in the badly hit provinces of Balochistan, where the agency already supports nearly 42,000 people, and Sindh.
“The situation is expected to worsen with more ongoing rainfall,” Stephane Dujarric, the UN Secretary-General spokesman, said during a press briefing Monday.
“We along with the (Pakistani) government are planning a flash appeal of $160 million for immediate relief activities,” he said, noting the request will officially launch Tuesday.
The UN has “already mobilized about $7 million, including redirecting existing programs and resources to meet the more urgent needs” such as food, water, medical supplies and shelter.
However, distributions are currently on hold as floodwaters create access constraints across the country.