"...Right Now We Just Have to Get the People Back on Their Feet..."

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 16, 2010

During his visit to Thatta, Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said, "The reconstruction phase is going to take a very long time. The devastation is enormous; the estimates of what it will cost run into tens of billions of dollars. But right now we just have to get the people back on their feet, the waters have to recede, we have to find out how many bridges and roads have been destroyed, and we have to help Pakistan fix that problem. The Pakistani economy was getting better, was getting stronger, when this happened and the international community had given billions of dollars to Pakistan, in Swat last year there was an immense effort. All of that effort was washed away by these floods."

The United States continues to focus on relief and recovery in Pakistan. To date, the United States has provided approximately $268 million, which does not include considerable in-kind and technical assistance specifically to address the impact of these floods. U.S. aircraft have evacuated more than 13,000 people and delivered 5.4 million pounds of relief supplies. We are also expanding pre-existing programs in flood-affected areas. Current efforts focus on:

• Meeting survival needs. In total, the U.S. has provided 13 mobile water treatment units that each produce enough clean water for 60,000 people a day; twelve 20,000-liter water bladders for the storage of clean water; 170,900 10-liter water containers; 15 million water purification tablets (sufficient to chlorinate 150 million liters of water); 58 Zodiac inflatable rescue boats; 96 concrete saws and saw blades; 236,980 blankets; and 6,663 rolls of plastic sheeting for the construction of temporary shelters. These relief supplies brought in from USAID warehouses in Dubai, Italy, and the United States are in addition to the supplies purchased locally by partners that are providing to those in need.

• Fighting malaria. The United States, in partnership with Pakistan's Ministry of Health, is providing $5 million to the U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) for use in its anti-malaria programs. The funds will be used to pre-position rapid testing kits and anti-malarial medications. It will also go towards educational programs designed to teach at-risk communities the early warning signs of a malaria outbreak.

• Providing seed and fertilizer to flood-affected farmers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The $21 million in aid will help ensure there's a viable crop of rabi wheat this winter and prevent future food insecurity. The program will be implemented by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and will provide wheat seed, vegetable seed and fertilizer packages to help approximately 1.7 million people in 12 districts, particularly female-headed households, female farmers, and households with children under five years old.

The U.S.' private sector and private citizens are also providing assistance. To date, businesses have donated approximately $10.5 million in contributions to flood relief efforts.

The most effective way people can continue to assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are operating in flood-affected regions. Cash donations allow experts to procure the exact items needed. They reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, warehouse space, etc). They can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; and ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally-appropriate assistance.

Individuals, corporations, and other organizations can send much-needed help to the people of Pakistan by contributing to the Pakistan Relief Fund at www.state.gov. In the U.S., individuals can send $10 through mobile phones by texting “FLOOD” to 27722. Working with mGive, Americans are also contributing to Pakistan flood relief by texting the word “SWAT” to 50555. The text results in a donation of $10 to the UNHCR Pakistan Flood Relief Effort. Every $10 helps provide tents and emergency aid to displaced families.

A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for flood response efforts in Pakistan can be found at www.interaction.org. Information about organizations responding to the humanitarian situation in Pakistan is available at www.reliefweb.int.

From within Pakistan, people are invited to share information and updates by SMS texting the word FLOODS to 7111, or by texting the amount of their donation to the Prime Minister's Fund for Flood Relief, at “1234.”

More information can be found at:




Clay K.
District Of Columbia, USA
September 23, 2010

Clay K. in Washington writes:

I think the State Department should work with several respected international relief agencies (i.e. Mercy Corp, Americares) in building emergency housing from large shipping containers. The Sears home expert, Bob Vila, has done a mock-up and numerous examples have been produced.

The idea makes sense because there are many empty containers available and thousands more can quickly be fabricated by the local, displaced, job-hungry populace.

In addition, just as any housing market, making livable homes will spread further industries and work, like plumbing, electrical, flooring, roofing, furniture, etc.

The relief agencies could start by providing a small group of ready-to-go containers. Results would be compiled and positive efforts duplicated in much greater quantities.

I would hope ocean going shipping companies would cooperate by delivering empties.

This concept would work wherever there are natural disasters--Indonesia, Kashmir, Chile, Mexico. It could become part of an overall relief protocol. And, that is where the State Department comes in.

I would like a response. Thank you.


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