Church agency urges more robust response to Pakistan crisis

Church agency urges more robust response to Pakistan crisis

By agency reporter
18 Aug 2010

Church World Service officials have urged a more robust response from the international donor community to Pakistan’s devastating flooding disaster.

The US-based global relief and development agency (http://www.churchworldservice.org/) has voiced even deeper worries over whether or not pledges will be fulfilled.

While the international community has so far committed close to US$229.5 million in support and another US$142 million in additional pledges, those pledge amounts alone are insufficient to cover even the initial three-month relief needs outlined by the United Nations, says Donna Derr, Director of Humanitarian Assistance for Church World Service.

“Thankfully the flood’s death toll has remained relatively low but disasters can’t be measured by just the number of dead,” says CWS’s Derr. “Effective humanitarian response must be measured against the all the people affected, just struggling to survive,” she said.

The initial UN plan calls for US$460 million. The Pakistan Humanitarian Forum, of which CWS is a member, calls on government and private sources to dramatically increase funding in order to save lives.

With offices in Pakistan since 1954, CWS relief and development experts are concerned Pakistan’s already weak social services may crumble without adequate and immediate help now. Millions of Pakistanis risk sinking deeper into chronic poverty for the next generation, compromising human rights and basic needs.

Making pledges pay off on the ground is a chronic challenge among the world donor community. In recent UN appeals for the internally displaced in Pakistan’s northwest, some donors were moderately quick to pledge funding but hesitant to follow through with actual commitments.

Church World Service is continuing to distribute food and non-food items across Pakistan. The agency’s health teams and mobile health units are focusing on providing preventive and curative health services. Another CWS mobile health unit was dispatched on 16 August 2010 to Kewaii Union Council, Mansehra District, rescheduled from its original assignment in Kohistan, which is still inaccessible to aid teams.

As its response expands, CWS’s completed, ongoing and planned activities will benefit a total of 237,950 individuals in seven districts of three provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkwa, Balochistan and Sindh, the agency says.

[Ekk/3]

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