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Pakistan Earthquake
It is well past time for the donor community to fork out the money that the UN has repeatedly asked for in its repeated flash appeals for earthquake relief, and seriously commit to saving the millions of lives in peril today. Shockingly, according to Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune, to date "the UN has received $216 million in emergency relief, only 39 percent of its appeal for $550 million” for victims of the earthquake in Kashmir and northern Pakistan.

Wait a minute: didn’t donors commit nearly $6 billion in aid for Pakistan just two weeks ago? Yes, but read the small print: that was for long term reconstruction. Apparently aid commitments are fine, as long as no one has to pony up the money now. And so a situation as potentially devastating as it is absurd: international donors are unable to put together a sum for emergency relief that is less than one-tenth of what they have publicly committed, forcing the UN to come out with renewed appeals for emergency funds and strong warnings “against shifting the focus of earthquake … from emergency relief to reconstruction.” (BBC News)
But ignore, if you will, the three million shelterless earthquake victims facing the Himalayan winter, and cast your minds toward tomorrow’s custom-designed, Kevlar-reinforced, earthquake-proof houses, on which we can resettle the few thousand survivors who make it through. For as past experience has taught us, with reconstruction, everyone stands to benefit. (Washington Post)
The picture in this post is provided courtesy of Rod A. Beckstrom.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.