Oxfam welcomes UK’s aid commitment to Pakistan but says the British government must do much more
Reaction to UK's International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell visit to Pakistan
Neva Khan, Oxfam's country director in Pakistan, said: "The UK government has made a good start in committing more than £30m (US$38m). But it can and should do much more to help the people of Pakistan. This is a disaster on an unprecedented scale which needs an equally robust response.
"Britain should be leading from the front by committing more aid money and continuing to press other wealthy countries, especially its EU partners, to do the same. So far, the response from Europe has been feeble.
"In addition, the UK government needs to make sure funds are channelled through to frontline aid agencies like Oxfam as quickly and efficiently as possible. At the moment, the money is taking far too long to come through.
"Britain has a long shared history with Pakistan. We hope that by seeing for himself the scale of the suffering of the Pakistani people, Mr Mitchell will immediately step up the UK's response."
Nearly 20 million people have now been affected by the floods which have swept through the country, with an estimated eight million people in direct need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
The crisis continues to develop, with more flood warnings daily and more people forced from their homes. But the dramatically worsening conditions have not been matched by a substantial increase in the aid effort.
The Pakistan Flood Response Plan remains dangerously under-funded, with just over 61 % of the £294m ($460m) needed to see the country through the next three months received so far. The UK government has so far pledged £30.3m.
Khan continued: "This is the worst emergency we have ever seen in this country - and it's getting worse, not better. But the international community is failing to respond on the scale that is urgently needed.
"£30m sounds a lot of money but it will take billions to rebuild the country. The Pakistani people need food, shelter, clean water and medical help now. But they will also need support for long-term recovery and development.
"Many of these people have lost everything - their homes, family, agricultural produce and livestock. They are going to need help for many years to come to get them back on their feet."
Pakistan floods: The situation and Oxfam's emergency response
Oxfam and partners are mounting a response across in four provinces Pakistan - Khyber Pakhtoonkkhwa (formally NWFP), Sindh, Kashmir and Punjab.
So far, the agency has reached more than 200,000 people with clean water, sanitation kits and hygiene supplies, as well as food and non-food items.
Agencies such as Oxfam are doing their best to scale up their operations to respond to the needs, but the resources currently available cover only a fraction of what is required. Water, sanitation and hygiene needs are currently just 28% funded. The health sector is 24% funded.
Oxfam has been working in Pakistan since 1973. We support local partners and work with government authorities to improve the livelihoods of those living in poverty, and provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by disasters and conflict.