Belfast Telegraph

Pakistan donations top 5m euro

Irish donations to flood-hit Pakistan have topped five million euro, a charity chief revealed as the Government set out how its aid funds would be spent.

Hans Zomer, director of umbrella group Dochas, said agencies expected to see the amount of fundraising continue to increase as the scale of devastation became more apparent.

"The floods in Pakistan are a disaster beyond imagination," Mr Zomer said.

"Fortunately, the suffering of the people of Pakistan has not gone unnoticed in Ireland. Despite recent calls that charity begins - and supposedly ends - at home, the people of Ireland have once again shown tremendous generosity in the face of human suffering."

Meanwhile, Peter Power, minister of state for overseas development, said Irish Aid allocated the first 1.5m euro, with 300,000 euro to Goal, Unicef, the World Food Programme and another 150,000 euro to Plan Ireland.

"Unicef and Plan Ireland both have child-centred approaches to delivering humanitarian aid and to addressing the particular difficulties which children encounter in a disaster of such enormous proportions," Mr Power said. "In addition, funding has also been approved to assist Goal for its humanitarian response in Sindh province. The slow pace of the humanitarian response in Sindh province to date has been deeply worrying."

Mr Power warned six million people would need food for at least the next month.

The Pakistan Government estimates 15 billion US dollars will be needed over the next five years to recover from the disaster.

Dochas, which acts as the umbrella organisation of Ireland's overseas development organisations, said 20 million people needed help.

Mr Zomer added: "The scale of destruction in Pakistan is enormous. More than six million people across Pakistan have lost their homes and belongings. The floods have submerged one-fifth of the country - an area the size of Belgium, Austria and Switzerland combined - and laid waste to infrastructure and crops. Clearly, the country will need help, and the international community will be judged by the way it responds to this tragedy."

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