The European Commission is proposing that an additional amount of at least €80 million be made available to address the immediate needs of survivors of the earthquake in Pakistan on 8th October (€30 million), and to contribute to the costs of rehabilitation and reconstruction (€50 million). This is in addition to the €13.6 million emergency humanitarian aid already released, bringing the total proposed for 2005/6 to €93.6 million ($111.7 million). The very substantial sum proposed underlines the European Commission’s commitment to Pakistan and to its people. The Commission has approached the budgetary authority (Council of Ministers and European Parliament) with this proposal, and has called for an early response to this proposal so that the EU can continue to act swiftly to help those still suffering the terrible effects of the earthquake.
Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: “With millions now homeless, and practically all infrastructure destroyed, the challenge of reconstructing lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of this terrible natural disaster will be with us for many years. Pakistan can count on Europe as a friend and reliable partner not only in this moment of crisis, but also in the long years of hard work to come”.
European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Louis Michel declared: “We are facing an enormous humanitarian catastrophe and with winter just around the corner, a second humanitarian disaster looms for the four million people without a roof over their heads and the 70,000 injured people needing medical attention. For all humanitarian organisations, it is a race against the clock. Aid funding must be significantly increased to speed up the purchase and delivery of tents, blankets and other assistance as well to boost the transport capacity of humanitarian agencies.”
As the humanitarian funds available to the Commission for 2005 have been exhausted, the Commission is seeking to draw down an extra €30 million from the emergency reserve of the European Union budget. This requires the approval of the budgetary authority. The Commission hopes and expects that the Parliament and Council will recognise the urgency of the situation and move as quickly as possible to unblock these additional funds to provide humanitarian assistance for hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims in Pakistan. As the humanitarian needs will continue to exist over the next months, further humanitarian funds may be required in due course.
The funds, to be channelled through the Commission’s humanitarian partners (NGOs, Red Cross/Crescent and UN agencies) will be used to meet a wide range of humanitarian needs including shelter, medical support, medicines, household items, hygiene kits, water supplies and sanitation.
Though professional needs assessments are not yet available, it is certain that very substantial funds will be required to reconstruct housing, medical facilities, schools, roads, water pipes and all basic infrastructure. The Commission is proposing that €50 million be made available for reconstruction.
The Commission has identified €20 million in unspent funds at the end of 2005, which can be allocated to reconstruction in Pakistan. An additional €10 million is being sought from the Emergency Reserve in 2005. A further €20 million should be found in 2006.
Professional needs assessments will be essential to maximising the impact of international aid to reconstruction in Pakistan, and ensuring that work is properly co-ordinated. The Commission is participating in this work through its Delegation in Islamabad and ECHO field teams, in co-operation with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
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