This week I’m attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and I’m looking forward to joining a broad and historic international body to discuss the wide spectrum of global issues we face today. My week at UNGA began with a meeting about a topic of immediate urgency – relief and recovery efforts for the more than 20 million Pakistanis affected by the devastating flooding.
On my recent visit to Pakistan, I witnessed the severe devastation and unimaginable loss experienced by the flood victims. I’m proud to say that from the beginning, USAID has been at the forefront of the U.S. government response along with our colleagues at the Department of State and Department of Defense. To date, the swift and immediate response has addressed the wide range of needs in Pakistan, from sending in emergency food supplies and water purification units to ensure safe drinking water, to facilitating waterborne disease warning detection systems and funding anti-malarial medications.
In mid-October, The World Bank and Asian Development Bank will present a Damage and Needs Assessment to give us a more comprehensive picture of the scale of the damage. Undoubtedly, that picture will be grim and the upcoming months will be daunting, especially as winter descends on Pakistan. But as we face the extreme scale of the disaster, the most critical question we will be asking ourselves is: How are we improving the lives of Pakistanis? USAID is committed to a long-term relief, recovery, and reconstruction.
How are we impacting the life of Olfata, a ten year old girl caring for her young siblings in the aftermath of the flood and in the face of tremendous loss? How are we supporting Nadeem, whose family struggled to find shelter and make ends meet after their home near the Swat River was destroyed?
USAID will continue responding to these situations on the ground, and work closely with the Government of Pakistan and our partners. We are committed to a long-term relief, recovery and reconstruction effort. This week, on the world stage of the United Nations General Assembly, we will continue to work with the international community and the Government of Pakistan as they rebuild their country.
To find out more about what USAID has done on the floods so far, see http://www.usaid.gov/pakistanflooding/
To contribute to humanitarian and relief operations: www.interaction.org