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US Announces $30M in Humanitarian Aid Through USAID for Flood-Struck Pakistan

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to travel to Pakistan for a solidarity visit next week.

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Climate Change
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The United States on Tuesday, 31 August, announced humanitarian aid of $30 million to Pakistan, which is currently battling one of the worst floods in recent history.

Announcing the same, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet, “We stand with Pakistan in this difficult time."

"As Pakistan suffers from devastating flooding, the United States, through the USAID (United States Agency for International Development), is now providing $30 million towards critical humanitarian assistance like food, safe water, and shelter," he said.

During a conference call with reporters, Department of State Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said that the flooding has affected an estimated 33 million people and led to 1,00 deaths and 1,600 injuries.

"In addition, more than one million homes have been damaged or destroyed, and nearly 735,000 livestock – a major source of livelihood and food – have been lost, and the flooding has damaged roads and more than two million acres of agricultural land,” Patel said.

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“USAID partners will use this fund to prioritise urgently needed support for food, nutrition, multi-purpose cash, safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and shelter assistance,” Patel added.

He further informed reporters that a USAID disaster management specialist arrived in Pakistan’s Islamabad on Monday to assess the floods’ impact and to coordinate with partners on response efforts.

"We are deeply saddened by the devastating loss of life and livelihoods throughout Pakistan. We stand with Pakistan during this difficult time, and the US is proud to be the single largest humanitarian donor to Pakistan," Patel said.

UN Secretary General to Visit Pakistan

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to travel to Pakistan for a solidarity visit next week after a $160 million emergency plan was launched to help the cash-starved nation deal with the climate calamity.

Guterres is expected to arrive in Islamabad on 9 September and will travel to several areas which have been heavily impacted by the unprecedented catastrophe.

A statement issued on Tuesday said that given the “tragic situation facing millions of men, women and children impacted by historic floods,” the Secretary General will travel to Pakistan for a solidarity visit.

He will also meet displaced families and witness the UN’s functioning in supporting the government’s relief efforts, in collaboration with the UN’s humanitarian partners. He is expected to return to New York on 11 September.

During a video message appealing for support for the Pakistan Flood Response Plan, the UN Secretary General said that the country is “awash in suffering.”

“The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids – the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding. This climate catastrophe has killed more than 1,000 people with many more injured,” he said.

Millions have been rendered homeless, schools and health facilities have been destroyed, livelihoods are shattered, critical infrastructure wiped out, and people's hopes and dreams have washed away, Guterres said.

US Legislators Call for Immediate Aid and Assistance

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said:

"Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the monsoons in Pakistan – from the millions who have now been displaced to the thousands who have tragically lost their lives."

Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, "My thoughts are with the people of Pakistan as they face these devastating floods. I extend my deepest condolences for the mounting loss of life and to all those affected.”

Senator Robert Menendez, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said, “My thoughts are with the people of Pakistan, especially those who lost loved ones to recent floods.”

“International support for shelter, clean water, healthcare & emergency services is crucial. We cannot afford to ignore the climate crisis or its deadly impact on our world,” Menendez added.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said that the flooding in Pakistan is yet another example of the effects of climate change, which are happening right now. "My prayers are with the millions of people suffering - and for a future where we can prevent it.”
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Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, co-chair of the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, said the flooding devastation is catastrophic with over 30 million people impacted.

"It's urgent that the United States offers to help with possible airlifts of food and necessities to isolated and starving people."

(With inputs from PTI.)

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