Aid pledges is slow  for Pakistan: UN

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ISLAMABAD: United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Julien Harneis said on Wednesday that aid pledges made by UN member states towards the 2022 flood response plan for Pakistan were not converting into commitment as quickly as they were a couple of weeks ago.

“We have to work with those countries who were supporting the UN to accelerate the speed to enable us to provide assistance to the people affected by catastrophic floods in Pakistan,” Mr Harneis said during his weekly press briefing in Islamabad.

“We have not yet seen enough funding for health, nutrition and safe water and we are working with those countries that are supporting Pakistan to see more funding in this critical area. This is absolutely a challenge and there remains a major gap. The Unicef, which is very much involved in the health and nutrition of young children, is not receiving funding at this time of crisis,” the UN humanitarian coordinator said.

“In terms of the needs we have seen on the ground across the country, health remains our major concern because this issue is of great importance and WHO is actively following the health situation in Pakistan,” Mr Harneis said.

“WHO has forecast that by January 2023, there will be 27 million malaria cases in 32 districts of Pakistan and this is a significant increase in comparison with previous years,” the UN coordinator said.

“On an average, 50,000 people die from malaria in Pakistan. The significant increase in malaria cases will lead to significant increase in deaths and this is very worrying situation,” he said.

Mr Harneis said that the UN was seeking funds for the most prioritised needs of the flood-hit people like health, nutrition, safe water, food security and shelter.

About the funding, he said pledges by member states were easily in access of $180m which was more than the first flash appeal but less than 20 per cent of the new appeal for $816m launched last week. The pledges converting into commitment now stood at $90m, he said.

Deputy Representative of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Farrukh Toirov spoke on the state of food security and agriculture in the most affected areas by floods and said the main issue now was planting of wheat in those areas.

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