News story

Britain to double emergency aid to Pakistan

UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell announces a further £33 million in aid to Pakistan

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

**UK Statement delivered by Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Pakistan Floods.
“Secretary-General, Foreign Minister Qureshi, President of the General Assembly, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The British Government would like to express its deep sadness at the loss of life, and destruction that has been caused by the floods in Pakistan and our concern for the continuing suffering of the Pakistani people.

I have come straight from Pakistan today and the area devastated by flooding. I visited the village and camp yesterday at Pir Sabaq where I saw scenes of total destruction of homes, livelihoods and all basic services with water marks on those walls left standing of over 12 feet above ground level. An eloquent testament to the destructive force of the wall of water which has swept all before it over 1200 miles of Pakistan leaving utter devastation in its wake.

The British Government strongly supports the leadership of the Government of Pakistan and the UN in responding to this immense humanitarian crisis. We welcome this Special Session, which brings together the international community at a time of great need to focus on responding to the Initial Floods Emergency Response Appeal. Britain wishes to offer the most forthright support to the Secretary-General and to respectfully suggest that the response of the international community so far has been woefully inadequate. The only acceptable outcome from the Special Session today is that the UN’s appeal should be fully, if not over-funded by the time we conclude tonight.

If this is not the case, the world will rightly draw the conclusion that the international community will have failed in our duty.

The British Government has already made a significant commitment of nearly $50 million to the humanitarian response. This is helping to provide one and a half million people with safe drinking water and sanitation supplies, and nutritional support for vulnerable women and children so grievously affected. We have also accelerated a programme to provide new bridges to replace some of those washed away by the floods. The Royal Air Force is helping to transport vital equipment, including tents and shelter kits, and Britain is offering bridging expertise to help restore transport networks. We have brought forward our programme of $15 million of bridge repairs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Yesterday in Pakistan I announced additional support which will provide thousands of people with emergency shelter and help humanitarian agencies to continue to address specific needs. Today I can announce that Britain will double its contribution to this emergency relief to just under $100 million. We were amongst the first to rally to Pakistan’s support with the early delivery of shelter, food, medicines and clean water and we are now identifying additional and specific interventions, working with the Government of Pakistan and our partners in the UN and civic society for this further $50 million of aid and support. As the Secretary-General has urged, it is now imperative that all wealthy countries step up and give vigorous support to Pakistan.

In addition to this, I would also like to recognise the significant generous contribution that the British public have made through the British Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal raising nearly $25 million so far for the relief effort.

I can also report from my visit and meeting with Manuel Bessler, the Head of OCHA Pakistan, that the cluster system appears to be working well. Britain underlines the need for strong coordination and would urge donors to support the considerable efforts of OCHA on the ground.

We should not lose sight of the immense longer term effort that will be required to restore Pakistan’s infrastructure and re-build lives and livelihoods. Maintaining progress on economic growth and stabilisation and on the vital programme of reform will also be critical - indeed fundamental - to Pakistan’s recovery.

Our Resolution today draws attention to the growing effects of climate change where expert advice suggests the next 15 years will see an increase of 50% in disaster emergencies. We know that in the first week of flooding in Pakistan more rain fell than in the whole of the previous 10 years.

I would like to conclude by recognising on World Humanitarian Day the extraordinary work of humanitarian workers throughout the world, including those in Pakistan, and in particular those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Finally, no one can have witnessed such scenes of total destruction as I saw yesterday in Pir Sabaq. Now is the time for all of us to respond with commitment and determination to the plight of desperate people in Pakistan and for the international community to shine a light of hope into the darkness and despair which we are seeing so widely spread across Pakistan today.

Thank you.”

Press Release: Britain to double emergency aid to Pakistan, but other nations must step up

Andrew Mitchell, British Development Secretary, has announced that the UK intends to double its aid contribution for the floods in Pakistan, but will only release money to partners who are able to show they can deliver the right results for the people of Pakistan.

Andrew Mitchell flew to New York straight from a visit to Pakistan where he had seen how UK aid was helping those affected by flooding. The new support could help millions more. He told the UN General Assembly it was ‘unacceptable’ that the international community had not done more, and urged other donors to step up their efforts.

The Secretary of State made clear new UK support will only be released to implementing partners - such as NGOs and UN agencies - when we are confident it will help the people of Pakistan access desperately needed medicine, food, clean water and shelter. New funding will also help people to rebuild their lives after the flooding, for example providing seeds to farmers so they can restart crop planting.

Speaking in New York, Andrew Mitchell said:

“I’ve come to New York directly from Pakistan, where I saw the dire need for more help. Yesterday I saw the sheer and shocking magnitude of this catastrophe. It is clear that unless more aid is delivered now, many more people will die from disease and malnutrition.

“It is deeply depressing that the international community is only now waking up to the true scale of this disaster.

“The UK is already helping more than three million people in flood-affected areas. This doubling of our aid should now provide water and sanitation to 500,000 people; shelter to 170,000 people; help meet the nutritional needs of 380,000 people and provide enough health services to cover a population of 2.4 million people.

This additional support will help millions more secure the aid they need not only to survive, but to begin rebuilding their lives.

“I am in New York to urge the rest of the world to follow the example of those countries that have increased their support in recent days. The wealthiest nations - especially those in the G8 - have a duty to step up their response dramatically.”

Notes to Editors;

Andrew Mitchell will hold a series of high level meetings with his opposite numbers from across the globe. He will impress on them the need to commit more practical and financial help to the estimated 20 million people affected by the floods.

The UK intends to make available an additional £33 million in aid. This is in addition to the £31.3 million already allocated to the disaster by the UK Government.

UK aid, with the help of the UK military, is already helping three million people affected by flooding. We are providing one million people with safe drinking water and sanitation supplies and giving nutritional support for vulnerable women and children across the flood-affected regions. We have also accelerated a programme to provide new bridges to replace some of those washed away by the floods. The UK military is helping to transport vital equipment including tents and shelter kits, as well as offering bridging expertise to help restore transport networks and enable delivery of relief to areas which have been cut off by the floods.

Published 19 August 2010