Noteworthy News – Pakistan Floods

See below for a sampling of opinion pieces and news articles discussing the floods in Pakistan and the disaster’s implications for security and development:

  • Pakistan’s tragic flooding demands an international response (The Washington Post editorial, August 17) There is a strategic case for aiding Pakistan in this time of crisis. Timely, generous assistance could improve America’s image in an area of the world where it has been unpopular. After a 2005 earthquake shook Pakistan, U.S. aid proved helpful in burnishing America’s reputation. But the positive impact of that assistance has largely faded; in this volatile region, images of helicopters bearing food have been replaced with helicopters delivering soldiers. Now the West has a chance again to show solidarity with Pakistani citizens — or it can risk losing ground to the extremist groups that some say are already stepping up to offer assistance. Aid might help build trust and reinforce Pakistan’s position as an ally in the international war on terror.
  • U.N. Warns of Supply Shortage in Pakistan (The New York Times, August 18) The United Nations, which had been saying that as many six million people needed some manner of emergency assistance — shelter, food, drinking water or medical care — estimated that figure could reach eight million.  “The funding response to the floods is improving but much more is needed,” he said. “The effort must be sustained in the days and weeks ahead in order to have the resources to reach the people who desperately need help.”  The United States was by far the largest single donor, with $82 million, according to United Nations figures, with the next largest donor Australia at $26.6 million. The United States said its total contributions amount to $90 million, including helicopters, boats and temporary bridges, according to the State Department.
  • US to boost Pakistan flood aid to 150 million dollars (AFP, August 19) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that US aid is swelling to 150 million dollars for Pakistan and called for a halt to extremist attacks during the flood crisis as an “expression of common humanity.” “I want to see more, and today at the United Nations I will be announcing more US assistance,” the top American diplomat told Dawn TV, in a transcript provided by the State Department.  When asked if the new aid total would be 150 million dollars, she said: “Yes. And I will also be announcing a way for individual Americans to contribute; a fund that I’m setting up here in the State Department.”  The State Department has said US flood aid was being distributed through the Pakistani authorities or relief organizations on the ground to “provide critical supplies to flood affected populations.”
  • Holbrooke: Donations Offer Leverage Over Pakistan Floods; Need Still Enormous (PBS Newshour, August 19) Holbrooke: … we all know how important Pakistan is strategically and politically to the U.S. We’re doing this, however, because the people are in desperate need, as you pointed out a moment ago. And it but we are not oblivious to the political and strategic implications of it. It’s just that we’re the president, President Obama, who has issued a statement, the United States government, all of us are just pitching in to do everything we can right now. And then we will let the dust settle and see where we go from there.

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