Australia, UK, Norway lead the way, but others slow to respond to new UN appeal for Pakistan

Emergencies, Media Releases, News article written on the 21 Sep 2010

Oxfam calls on other donors to act with appeal only 21 percent funded

The international community has let down the millions affected by the Pakistan floods with its lukewarm response to the revised UN appeal international aid agency Oxfam said today.

Australia, the UK and Norway responded generously to the new call, however most other countries have failed to respond. The appeal for Pakistan stands at US $2 billion and is the biggest ever appeal for a natural disaster. It is just 21 percent funded.

Australia and the UK have more than doubled their contributions to Pakistan – with Australia bringing its total to $75 million and the UK bringing its total to £134 million. Norway has more than trebled its assistance to over US $66m. No other donors, except for Malta – which announced a contribution of just over US $19,000 – have pledged new money for the revised appeal.

Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett said Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was right to warn about the risk of further devastating disease outbreaks in Pakistan if the international community did not provide more funding for disaster relief efforts.

“Other countries need to follow Australia’s lead and provide more funding. This is the biggest disaster in the world right now, and it is not over yet. In the south, people continue to flee as yet more homes are consumed by the flood-waters,” Mr Hewett said.

The worst funded areas of the new appeal are education, which has only nine percent of the funds it needs, and agriculture, which has just 12 percent.

Over 8,600 schools were damaged in the disaster, and more than 3,600 schools are being used as shelters for those displaced by the floods. More money is needed to help establish temporary learning centres and rehabilitate schools for an estimated 1.8 million children currently missing out on education.

Some 80 percent of the people affected are farmers and many have lost their crops and livestock. Those from areas still flooded will almost certainly miss the winter planting season – which begins now – but even in areas where the water has receded, farmers will need considerable help, as their seeds and tools have been washed away by the flood-waters. Likewise, farmers who have surviving livestock need fodder and veterinary support to help keep the weakened animals alive.

Nigel Young, deputy head of Oxfam’s emergency response on Pakistan said that without more funds the crisis will get deeper.

“The children of Pakistan need to get back to school. But schools won’t be built without money. Farmers need to be helped to plant, but can’t unless they are provided with tools and seeds. There is a small window of opportunity to make things better, but the more donors delay the more they put this in jeopardy,” Mr Young said.

Oxfam is helping one million people caught up in the Pakistan floods, one of its biggest emergency responses worldwide.

For more information and interviews contact: In Australia: Kate Thwaites on 0407 515 559 or In Pakistan: Rebecca Wynn on + 92 308 555 9694 or