Government to provide further €1.19m to Pakistan

 

The Government is to provide a further €1.19 million to help deal with the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan, bringing the total to date to €2 million, Minister for Overseas Development Peter Power announced today.

Addressing the emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly, the Minister said a disaster of such scope and magnitude required a global response which must have the UN at its centre.

He said in some ways the full measure of the devastation remains unseen, “completely covered by the flood waters”.

“It is clear nonetheless, that the scale of this crisis is of epic proportions.”

"Humanitarian disasters do not respect annual calendars and we are now faced with a further enormous challenge in the flooding situation in Pakistan. I would appeal to all our partner governments represented here today to keep up the momentum on the humanitarian response to this disaster."

Mr Power said it was “particularly appropriate” that today's meeting was taking place on World Humanitarian Day.

This morning the Minister met with John Holmes, head of the UN agency responding to the disaster. Mr Holmes also led the UN response to the earthquake in Haiti.

"His message was that the sheer scale and magnitude is very hard to convey to the global community. There are seven million people with no homes, no water, no food and increasingly, and more worryingly, no medicines. That's at a very minimum the number in immediate need of emergency assistance. There are 15 million people who are in need of other assistance," Mr Power told The Irish Times.

"Those sheer numbers are very difficult to get one's head around."

The Minister said a "massive global response" was required to prevent a secondary humanitarian disaster. The lives of millions of children are at risk.

“This emergency meeting of the general assembly will convey to the world the sheer scale of this disaster and what is required to deal with it.”

Addressing the UN assembly on behalf of the Government, Mr Power provided an update on what he described as “Ireland’s very generous response to this terrible crisis”.

“The people of Ireland have dug deep to assist those caught up in this natural disaster. Despite the difficult economic times, it is a great tribute to Irish people that we still reach out to those in the greatest need.”

He said the UN meeting provides an opportunity for the international community to assess the global response to date and to discuss how to improve it.

This evening’s meeting is expected to adopt a UN resolution expressing sympathy for those affected by the flooding in Pakistan, to urge donors to do more, and to discuss how best to coordinate relief efforts.

To date, Ireland has provided funding of €810,000 towards the humanitarian response to the floods. The funds have been provided to Concern and Trócaire for their programmes on the ground in Pakistan.

In addition, funding of €150,000 is being provided to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to coordinate the nternational response.

A hundred tents from Ireland’s stock of humanitarian supplies have been delivered also to the International Organisation for Migration in Pakistan.