Pakistan faces ‘massive economic challenge’


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Pakistan faces a “massive economic challenge” as it expresses gratitude for more than $800m donated by the international community. The UK’s Channel 4 News assesses who has pledged what as Pakistan tries to pull itself from the floods.

Pakistan government officials will meet with the IMF on Monday to discuss the impact the three weeks of floods in the country, which has affected some 20 million people, has had on the economy.

The country’s economy is already being kept afloat by billions in IMF loans, and the cost of rebuilding after the floods will likely run into the billions.

The IMF talks will include discussion about the floods and what the country must do to cope.

Pakistan’s foreign minister said his country is grateful for international assistance, which came following an appeal from the UN for $460m in aid for the deluged nation.

At least six million people are now homeless.

Aid flowed relatively slowly to Pakistan in the first weeks of the crisis, apparently in part because many countries were unaware of the vast scope of the damage.

The US Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Vikram Singh told Channel 4 News that it was difficult to know what the impact would be of a slow moving flood, with a low death toll of 1,500 at the onset.

He said: “It’s hard to see with a slow moving flood, what the impact is going to be, so I think when the floods started on July 29, no-one really had a grasp of the scale this disaster would be. No-one expected that 20 million people would be affected by this flood.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “The solidarity and commitment which has been shown for Pakistan, this is greatly appreciated.”

The floods have affected about one-fifth of Pakistan’s territory, straining the civilian government as it also struggles against al Qaida and Taliban violence.

At least six million people are now homeless.

Flood levels keep rising

Flood waters were still rising on Sunday, with workers using sandbags and stones to strengthen river levees in parts of the south.

In the Muzaffargarh district, residents of Jatoi and surrounding villages remained cut off from the main towns, leaving many without food.

Villagers rushed to grab hundreds of bags of relief goods thrown by army volunteers from helicopters.

In Shahdadkot, in north Sindh Province, women and children were evacuated to a safer place.

Villagers were piled onto trailers and driven to safer areas by tractors.

The Shahdadkot bazaar was closed as shop owners secured supplies and removed goods in the face of further flooding.

How to donate

To make a donation to the DEC Pakistan appeal call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, visit http://www.dec.org.uk or donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque.

You can also donate £5 by texting the word GIVE to 70707.

Three towns in southern Thatta district of Sindh were also in danger and thousands of people were being evacuated from the area.

Tented camps have been set up in Sajawal, but one resident of the camp complained his family was not receiving enough food or water.

Nathoo Hussain said: “The government evacuated us. We have been living here for the last eight to ten days. We are not getting any water and food now. In the early days they (the government) provided us with food.”

Two levees along the Indus River are being strengthened according to Sindh’s disaster management authority.

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