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Thursday, July 25, 2024

World Bank vows $2 billion flood relief in Pakistan

The World Bank says it will provide about $2 billion to Pakistan, ravaged by floods that have killed more than 1,600 people this year, in its biggest aid pledge yet.

The World Bank said it would provide about $2 billion in aid to Pakistan, ravaged by floods that have killed more than 1,600 people this year, in its biggest aid pledge yet.

This year’s unprecedented monsoon rains and flooding — which many experts attribute to climate change — have also injured about 13,000 people across the country since mid-June. The floods displaced millions and destroyed crops, half a million homes and thousands of kilometers (miles) of roads.

World Bank Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser announced the commitment in an overnight statement after concluding his first official visit to the country on Saturday.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives and livelihoods as a result of the devastating floods and are working with the federal and provincial governments to provide immediate assistance to those most affected,” he said.

Raiser met federal ministers and the chief minister of southern Sindh province, the worst-affected region, where he visited the hard-hit Dadu district.

Thousands of makeshift medical camps for flood survivors have been set up in the province, where typhoid, malaria and dengue fever epidemics have killed at least 300 people, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

The death toll last week prompted the World Health Organization to raise the alarm of a “second disaster” as doctors on the ground raced to battle the outbreaks.

“As an immediate response, we are redirecting funds from existing World Bank-funded projects to support urgent needs in health, food, shelter, rehabilitation and cash transfers,” Raiser said.

The World Bank agreed to provide $850 million in flood aid to Pakistan last week in a meeting with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The $2 billion figure includes this amount.

Raiser said the bank is working with provincial authorities to begin infrastructure and housing repairs as quickly as possible to “restore livelihoods and help strengthen Pakistan’s resilience to climate-related risks.” For this purpose, we are counting on financing in the amount of about 2 billion dollars.”

Over the past two months, Pakistan has sent nearly 10,000 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to care for survivors in Sindh province.

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