US vows to shore up int’l support for flood-hit Pakistan
* Senior American officials say Washington optimistic on much-needed help in multi-billion-dollar recovery phase
* It is a certainty that US, Pakistan will need world ‘for long time’
WASHINGTON: The US is working to shore up international support for Pakistan’s staggering task to rebuild millions of lives and livelihoods in face of the unprecedented floods catastrophe, senior American officials, associated with aid effort, said.
Dan Feldman, deputy special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan and Mark Ward, acting director of USAID at the US Foreign Disaster Assistance, said that Washington remains optimistic on “the much-needed international help to the multi-billion-dollar rebuilding and rehabilitation phase”.
For its part, the US — which has committed $250 million in immediate relief and early recovery effort — will continue to do whatever it can to assist the South Asian nation to meet the massive recovery demands ahead, the officials said.
“We are doing as much as we can to encourage countries to not only meet the obligations of already pledged money - particularly the Tokyo pledges - but also to pledge on top of that (for) what the needs may be,” Feldman said at a roundtable talk with Washington-based Pakistani journalists.
The Asian Development Bank and World Bank were carrying out damage and needs assessment, as the colossal humanitarian tragedy continues to unfold in Sindh.
Pakistani officials had said that the total loss by the floods could be as high as $50 billion.
The US will ask major countries to commit to more assistance, the officials added. Feldman said that he felt some of the commitments made by donors at the Tokyo Friends of Pakistan meeting a couple of years ago — and which have not been delivered as yet —could be used to aid the immediate flood recovery effort.
Long: “Certainly in our bilateral conversations, we are encouraging countries to give on top of the Tokyo pledge,” he added.
Ward said it was certain that the US and Pakistan were going to need help by the international community “for a long time in the reconstruction phase, as with the rebuilding after the earthquake in 2005”.
“We are pretty confident that after we get the assessment from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and see the specific needs, and have the international conferences put the figures in front of the international community — when they see the size of it and when they see how long we are going to need help, we are going to get support,” Ward said.
Regarding the September 19 meeting, being hosted by the UN secretary general on the Pakistan flood situation, the US officials said it was a follow-up on the August 18 UN General Assembly’s special meeting, when the world community expressed its support for Pakistan.
“We will use the opportunity to see what we have done over the last month and we will see (where) this process is going. There is also hope that we will get the initial broad outlines of what needs may be coming up (for flood recovery) as well as laying a framework for how the international community will work over the coming months to address,” Feldman said. app