London: The UK government today confirmed the Pakistan floods has been its largest ever response to a humanitarian disaster, contributing some £134 million (18.5 billion rupees), and helping millions of people affected by the floods initially with lifesaving aid and now to rebuild their lives.
The British public donated a further £71 million (nearly 10 billion rupees) directly out of their pockets to the UK’s Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), which is the third highest total ever raised by the organisation, after the 2004 Tsunami and 2010 Haiti earthquake.
This brings the total contribution from the UK to well over £200million (27.7 billion rupees), plus millions more from smaller British charities and local fundraising activities.
UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said:
“I came to Pakistan at the peak of the floods last August and saw scenes of total devastation. Britain is immensely heartened to have been able to change the lives of people affected by the floods, and to now see families living in flood resistant houses that we’ve helped to build, children in schools we’ve repaired, people harvesting crops from seeds that we gave them, and buses crossing bridges we’ve replaced.
“Much still needs to be done, which is why UK aid will continue to help people in Pakistan over the coming months and into 2012. This reflects the deep friendship and longstanding bond between the UK and Pakistan – our countries are closely tied through family, business, history and culture, and we will always stand-by and support each other.”
Speaking at a media briefing in Islamabad, British High Commissioner Adam Thomson said:
“The British public really opened their hearts to the Pakistan people, donating nearly 10 billion rupees out of their own pockets, on top of the 18.5 billion rupees contributed by the UK government. This reinforces the warm and unbreakable bond between the people of the UK and Pakistan.”
Head of DFID-Pakistan George Turkington said:
“The Pakistan floods are one of the biggest disasters ever recorded; and this is the UK Government’s largest ever response to a natural disaster. We’ve helped millions of people, initially by providing emergency shelter and food, and later by helping people rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient again by constructing flood resistant brick homes, replacing bridges and schools, and providing seeds, farm animals, jobs, and tools.”
The UK Government was one of the first and most significant to respond to last year’s floods, the total contribution is :
• Shelter to more than one million people, including 13,400 flood resistance brick houses, each big enough to house a family of up to eight people;
• Wheat and vegetable seeds, fertiliser, animal feed, and veterinary services to approx 895,000 people;
• Getting 200,000 children back in to education by repairing schools, as well as accelerating a project to build forty new schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa benefitting another 9,000 boys and girls;
• Help some 744,000 people in rural areas to earn a living by providing jobs and skills training;
• Health care for around 2.62 million people;
• 5,000 families with kitchen gardens to increase the availability of vegetables and fruit;
• Clean water to around 2.4 million people;
• Toilets and sanitation to some 1.2 million people;
• Health and hygiene education to around 2.5 million people on how to avoid potentially fatal diseases;
• Emergency food for one month for more than 630,000 people ;
• Nutritional support for nearly half a million malnourished young children and pregnant/breastfeeding women, and nine nutrition stabilisation centres to provide treatment to malnourished children;
• Pots and pans, blankets and other items to approximately 2.74 million people;
• A £10 million (1.4 billion rupees) project to build new bridges and schools to replace some of those destroyed by the floods was brought forward; ten bridges shipped over from the UK are now in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, re-opening vital transport links;
• Twelve planes (five Royal Air Force and seven civilian) flown in packed full of emergency aid;
• Help to reduce the risk of another disaster ahead of the 2011 monsoon, by helping to set up and equip, via the Red Cross, 12 Disaster Management Cells in villages at risk of flooding across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh.
The UK was at the forefront of the international response, and consistently put pressure on other countries to play their part. In September 2010, as the crisis continued, the UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell went to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the Pakistan Floods in New York, where he doubled the UK’s support and lobbied other nations to donate more.
The UK’s International Development Committee has recently commended the UK response as ‘swift and generous’ and said that it is ‘proud of UK leadership’. It also commended ‘the British public for their generosity in responding to the humanitarian crisis in Pakistan despite the UK’s own economic difficulties’.
The UK is committed to being better prepared to deal with future disasters, and build up the resilience of local communities. This is in line with the Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (HERR), published by Lord Ashdown earlier this year. Ahead of the 2011 monsoon, the UK is helping to set-up and equip, via the Red Cross, 12 Disaster Management Cells across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh. The Cells provide a hub for logistics and a base for staff to work, and will house emergency items such as tents and blankets for 35,000 people each, to enable a quick response in any future disasters. And DFID has built in disaster risk reduction to all its programmes, such as disease early warning systems to avoid mass outbreaks.
The floods were the worst the world has ever recorded, killing nearly two thousand people, destroying some 10,000 schools and two million homes, forcing 14 million people to flee from their homes, and wiping out thousands of bridges, roads and electricity pylons. More than two million hectares of crops (an area the size of Wales) were lost, as well as one million farm animals and six million poultry.
For more information, contact:
British High Commission
Tel: +9251 201 2000
Cell: +92300 500 5306