Washington [US]: Amid reports of massive corruption and looting of US relief aid in Pakistan, Washington on Tuesday said this is something it takes very seriously, not only in Pakistan but anywhere around the world where American taxpayer dollars are implicated.
“This is something we take very seriously, not only in Pakistan but anywhere around the world where American taxpayer dollars are implicated and when there is an urgent humanitarian interest at stake, which is clearly the case, in terms of the response to the flooding in Pakistan,” US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said while responding to a question over reports of corruption in Pakistan in US relief aid items.
Price noted that USAID partners work with local organizations that have extensive knowledge about the affected areas and their populations. “We also are required to provide regular program updates on the progress of activities and any security concerns, and we require them – our partners – to immediately report any potential diversions, seizures, or losses immediately. So this is something we take very seriously.”
Speaking over steps taken to monitor and to ensure that adequate tracking mechanisms in this context, Price said, “First, USAID staff – they make regular trips to monitor our programs in the field. We have what’s called a DART – a Disaster Assistance Response Team – and their members travel to more than 10 flood-affected districts in Balochistan, in Sindh province.”
“They did so between – around mid last month, so between September 14th and September 27th – to assess not only the humanitarian conditions but also the response activities and to make sure that those response activities were meeting the humanitarian need.”
As per State Department, US provided nearly USD 56.5 million in flood relief and humanitarian assistance to Pakistan this year as well as an additional USD 10 million in food security assistance.
Pakistan has seen massive floods which have wreaked havoc in the country leading to a great loss of lives and infrastructure. As of September 30, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recorded nearly 1,700 deaths and more than 12,800 injuries since mid-June. The highest death rates were recorded in Sindh (747), Balochistan (325) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (307).
More than 2 million houses have been damaged or destroyed and around 7.9 million people are reportedly displaced, including some 598,000 people living in relief camps, according to reports by the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) of the affected provinces.
Estimates indicate that more than 7,000 schools are currently being used to host displaced populations, while an estimated 25,100 schools have been damaged. (ANI)