Today at the State Department, Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Dan Feldman, Acting Director of the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Mark Ward, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement William McGlynn gave a special briefing on flood relief in Pakistan.
Mr. Feldman, who recently accompanied a Congressional delegation to Pakistan, said "...the extent of the damage just visually was every bit as epic and devastating as you would imagine -- just miles and miles and miles as far as you could see for the whole several hours as we were flying around: agricultural fields under water, roads and bridges under water, roads continuously disrupted by water, so impossible to move people or food or supplies out; power plants literally under water, the swollen banks of the river -- both rivers actually -- just going, stretching as far as you could see, reinforcing for us, obviously, not only the degree of immediate relief that will be needed as the UN and other international donors have focused on, but longer term the recovery and reconstruction efforts which will take many, many months if not years.""...As the Secretary announced, we're now providing up to $150 million to support relief efforts, including some of that earmarked towards the UN flood response plan, so we're at just over the 20 percent threshold of the UN plan for $460 million. This money is going towards local and international NGOs, towards UN agencies, towards operations for NDMA through the Government of Pakistan.
"...The Secretary also announced at UNGA the establishment of the Pakistan relief fund. So for everyone, both Americans and members from the international community, to join in the relief, recovery, reconstruction efforts. This was accompanied by another text campaign in addition to the one which the Secretary announced several weeks ago, the text SWAT to 50555 that where $10 goes to the UNHCR, she announced the text FLOOD to 27722 which will donate $10 to this emergency relief -- to this Pakistan relief fund.
"We're looking at a series of follow-on meetings from the UNGA special session, multilateral in nature, over the next few months to continue to gauge and assess what the needs will be and how we can best meet those as we shift from relief efforts to reconstruction and recovery."
You can read the full text of the briefing here.
For more information about flood relief efforts, including how you can help, please click here.