After the visit of the UN Secretary General (UNSG) to Pakistan’s flood-hit areas last week, the hitherto-lackluster international humanitarian response seems to have picked up a notch. It’s not a lot of funds, and it certainly won’t be able to meet what the UNSG demanded the world to provide Pakistan “massive” financial assistance to Pakistan in these perilous times. But it’s a start, one that potentially signals that the beleaguered economy may finally be able to find more support from global community.
Recall that the UN had issued a Flash Appeal late last month, valued at about $160 million, to provide humanitarian relief to over 5 million people hit by the floods and help augment the Pakistani government’s ‘Pakistan Floods Response Plan 2022’. As per the latest data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), thus far (as of September 13, 2022), $46 million worth of foreign assistance has been mobilized under that appeal. That’s equivalent to nearly 30 percent of the appeal size.
The United States is far by far the biggest paid contributor to the humanitarian response for this natural disaster in Pakistan. So far, the US has provided $32.9 million in funding to the UN’s appeal for Pakistan, as per the latest UN-OCHA data.The US, therefore, accounts for nearly three-quarters of the funds mobilized by the UN so far. This is in line with America’s history of being the biggest donor to humanitarian crises overseas. The US contribution will pay for floods-related requirements related to food security, nutrition, health logistics, shelter, and water and sanitation.
At number two in terms of funding response is the Australian government, providing $3.7 million, or 8 percent of the funds mobilized by the UN so far. Bulk of this funding is destined for food security and agriculture-related field cluster. The Canadian government caps off the top-three donors, committing $3.5 million, or 8 percent of the overall funds mobilized by the UN so far for its Pakistan appeal. Most of this funding is to go towards food security, nutrition, shelter, and water and sanitation interventions.
Among other notable donors so far include the UN’s own Central Emergency Response Fund as well as the Government of Denmark. The Government of Japan has also pledged $7 million in funding via UN agencies. The amount mobilized so far from the world seems paltry at the moment, considering that the immediate relief, rescue and rehabilitation requirements are much higher and permanent losses to crops, dwellings, livestock, transportation infrastructure, etc. are counted in potentially tens of billions of dollars.
However, more funding is expected to arrive soon as foreign governments and aid organizations go through their internal inter-agency planning, processes, approvals, and logistics. The rest of the month of September will be crucial for the UN, and for Pakistan, in mobilizing more aid, as the urgency of the crisis will fade as flood waters recede. Besides, another humanitarian crisis elsewhere may divert donor attention and funding, which is already dealing with multiple crises around the world. Fingers crossed!