As Pakistan moves through the rehabilitation and reconstruction phases after this year’s devastating floods, the clear funding gap for these critical activities becomes apparent. The country was facing severe economic turmoil before the floods—and has yet to achieve fiscal balance—definitely not helping.
Pakistan’s plight in this regard was brought to the UN General Assembly, where Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who recently visited the country in solidarity, told the world that “Pakistan is drowning not only in flood waters but also in debt.” It is a matter of fact that international appeals to assist Pakistan during these challenging times have yet to be met with a strong response.
According to a senior UNICEF official, less than a third of the $39 million needed for the country’s flood-affected children has come, while the health, nutrition and education needs of minors will only increase. A US State Department official has also said that the international community should do more to aid Pakistan, while US Senator Bob Menendez described his country’s flood-related aid to Pakistan as a “drop in the bucket”. has done.
Also, during a meeting with the EU delegation on Tuesday, Senator Mushahid Hussain referred to EU aid to Pakistan as “peanuts”.
Donors’ exhaustion has clearly begun, and the amount given and distributed to Pakistan is true “peanuts”, especially since the prime minister has said that post-flood rehabilitation will cost “trillions” of rupees.
The harsh, harsh truth is that developed countries can spend billions of dollars on war, but they are extremely stingy when it comes to helping developing countries after disasters. Both the US and the European Union have poured billions of dollars into the Ukraine conflict, while US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have spent trillions of dollars. Despite this, both these foreign actors have contributed only a few million dollars to the development of Pakistan.
It should be emphasized that Pakistan is not asking for donations, but wants justice, as the Prime Minister has said. There is widespread agreement that climate change has increased the flooding, and that Pakistan has contributed little to greenhouse gas emissions and is paying the price for the environmental negligence of others.
While the global economy may be slowing, our international allies can certainly do more to help Pakistan rebuild. Moreover, Pakistan’s elite should loosen their purse strings and help their fellow citizens in this time of crisis.
The middle class is struggling and unable to contribute much due to economic stagnation; However, those who have the means can undoubtedly make a big contribution to the rehabilitation effort.
Foreign creditors should also heed the UN Secretary General’s call for debt reduction and debt-swap mechanisms. Pakistan is currently unable to repay its huge debt, so the focus should be on reconstruction.