Pakistan flood aid falls severely short

Donations to flood relief in Pakistan have fallen so short of need that some international aid groups say they could be forced to close some operations in the country.
Access to clean drinking water is still a major problem in Pakistan, where millions of people are forced to drink polluted water following August's flash floods, aid agencies say. (Courtesy of Oxfam)

Some international aid groups say they could be forced to close some operations in Pakistan after donations have fallen far short of what they need to help people hit by flooding there.

Oxfam, Save the Children, Care and ACTED, an organization headquartered in France, say nine million people are at risk of disease and famine following flash floods last August.

Care lacks 91 per cent of the money it needs to reach the 150,000 people it estimates need emergency healthcare in the areas in which it works. The group has only reached 10 per cent of those people, Waleed Rauf, the group’s Pakistan director, estimated in a statement released Tuesday night.

Oxfam needs money now or it will have to cut back its operations in December, the joint release says.

Even the United Nations has come up short in its funding drives. The UN asked for $357 million from donors around the world but has only received $96.5 million so far.

The country was also hit by devastating floods in 2010.

Three million people are starving and need emergency food assistance, with most of the food stocks and crops destroyed. Stagnant waters and an approaching winter season have strengthened the risk of a major outbreak of dengue, malaria and acute respiratory infection, the statement says.

Canada has donated 2.6 per cent of the total needed around the world to help Pakistan.

A spokesman for International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said she is monitoring the situation and in close contact with aid organizations.

"We are the second-largest donor and the government of Canada committed over $82.8 million in emergency funding in response to this crisis," Justin Broekema wrote in an emailed statement. That funding includes the federal government's response to appeals for assistance last fall and earlier this year in February, as well as last August's flash floods.