The Long Road: New report on aid to Pakistan

This is a guest post by Susan Harris Rimmer of ACFID.

With the world’s gaze on Pakistan, aid agencies today urged the international community not to forget the plight of the 21 million people whose lives were devastated by last year’s floods.

In a new report, The Long Road: Australian humanitarian agency response to the floods in Pakistan, ACFID highlights the ongoing humanitarian needs of the people affected by the 2010 Pakistan floods – one of the largest natural disasters in recent history. They affected more than 21 million people, killed 1,980 and injured 2,946.

The flood path covered over 100,000 square kilometres of land, which is around 20 per cent of Pakistan’s land mass, and affected 78 of Pakistan’s 102 districts. The floods damaged 2.9 million houses with over 913,217 houses completely destroyed.

The total direct and indirect damage caused so far is approximately US$10 billion. The total reconstruction costs are stimated to be upwards of US$8.9 billion. The damage to agriculture, fisheries and livestock is estimated to be over US$5 billion. But these statistics fail to capture the long-lasting damage the disaster has caused and the desperate
needs that will continue for years to come. With 2.1 million hectares of standing crops destroyed and one million tons of food and seed stocks gone, Pakistan is yet to face the worst of its food security crisis.

The report shows that assistance to the Pakistani population is underfunded at present, including in essential areas such as food security and shelter. International aid is helping to address these problems, and to bring the country back from the brink of full-scale disaster and discord.

Ten development agency CEOs note: ‘We encourage the Australian community to understand that a natural disaster of this scale does not end when the news headlines fade and the initial aid disbursements for emergency response have been made. Recovery can take years.’

Susan Harris Rimmer is the Manager for Advocacy and Development Practice at the Australian Council for International Development, the peak body for not for profit aid agencies.

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Susan Harris Rimmer

Dr Susan Harris Rimmer is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor at the Griffith Law School, and an Adjunct Reader in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University. She is also an Associate of the Development Policy Centre. She was previously the Manager of Advocacy and Development Practice at the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID). Susan helped to consolidate ACFID’s Academic Linkages Network. She has previously worked for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the National Council of Churches and the Parliamentary Library.

1 Comment

  • Susan,

    This is an interesting report on why aid to Pakistan is important. As you note in the first sentence ‘the World’s gaze is on Pakistan’ and some, especially in the US, have begun to question whether the West should be providing so much aid. Nancy Birdsall wrote an excellent post on Tuesday, Friend or Foe: Should the United States cut aid to Pakistan, which concluded:

    It took ten years of focused effort, persisting through repeated setbacks, to finally track down Osama bin Laden. That effort, as President Obama put it yesterday, has made the world safer and, “a better place.” A similar long-term commitment is exactly what is needed to put Pakistan on a healthier development path—and to make the world a better, safer place. No, now is not the time to abandon ship by cutting off the development program in Pakistan. Now is the time to right the ship.

    Thanks again for your timely report.

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