London : An all-party committee of MPs Tuesday expressed concern that only $700 million of a $2 billion appeal has been delivered on the ground to help millions of victims caught up in Pakistan’s worst-ever floods last year.
“Two thirds of the funding called for had still not been delivered by the end of January this year – this is unacceptable,” the parliamentary International Development Committee warned.
Pakistan’s floods afflicted 18 million people, including displacement of 12 million with more than 1,900 losing their lives in an area covering one fifth of the country, larger than England, the MPs said in a report on The Humanitarian Response to the Pakistan Floods.
“The international community can and must learn some important lessons from its response to the Pakistan floods, which will help in preparing for future disasters.” said committee chair Malcolm Bruce.
“In particular it needs to train-up a cadre of people to lead and coordinate complex emergency responses,” Bruce said.
In Britain, the Department for International Development (DFID) provided £134 million in humanitarian assistance and the British public donated at least £64 million directly to NGOs, while many Pakistanis living in the UK in addition helped by increasing their level of remittance.
The report found that the scale of the floods overwhelmed the capacity of the international system, which was already stretched by the earthquake in Haiti, to respond effectively.
The UN response was said to be “patchy with poor leadership and coordination.”
The committee called on the DFID and the wider international community to pay greater attention to disaster preparedness and risk reduction, warning that “climate change is likely to increase the frequency and severity of natural disasters.”
“Climate change looks likely to make natural disasters both more frequent and severe and population growth will increase their impact – the world must make sure it’s better prepared to come to the rescue of countries in need.” Bruce said.
“DFID must give greater priority to increasing disaster preparedness in its development programmes,” he said.