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Rediff.com  » News » Pak needs massive amounts of aid, says Holbrooke

Pak needs massive amounts of aid, says Holbrooke

August 12, 2010 12:11 IST
US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke has said that the aid being given to Pakistan in the aftermath of the flash floods is inadequate.

The UN launched an appeal on Wednesday to gather $ 450 million for flood relief in Pakistan.  The US has pledged $ 55 million in aid beside sending food and rations. In an interview with cfr.org, Holbrooke underlines American efforts to help Pakistan through this crisis.

Holbrooke said that the US was one of the first countries to respond to Pakistan's call for help. "We immediately sent helicopters from Afghanistan with US crews to the flooded zones. Right now we have a US military vessel about to send more helicopters to the region," he said.

Holbrooke said that the floods had affected over 14 million people which was greater than the overall number of people affected by the 2004 indian ocean tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the Haiti earthquake put together.

"Pakistan's biggest challenge is to deal with the fact that a major portion of its food crop has been washed away by these floods. A hundred odd bridges have been washed away or damaged. Cholera and Typhoid outbreaks are around the corner. Pakistan's fragile economy needs a massive inflow of aid to tackle this crisis," Holbrooke said.

He also played down reports of Islamic charities with links to militant groups were gaining support as they stepped up aid efforts in Pakistan's interior.  

Holbrooke said the floods did not change the American priorities in Af-Pak and the US remained focussed on providing civilian aid to Pakistan.

Image:  US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke