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Minister Power to brief Oireachtas Committee on race against time in Pakistan

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Asia and Oceania, Ireland, 2010

The Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power T.D., will tomorrow (Tuesday, 24 August) brief the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs on the escalating crisis following the recent floods in Pakistan.

Speaking ahead of the Committee session Minister Power said:

"I am deeply and increasingly concerned by the humanitarian situation in Pakistan. The risk of a second wave humanitarian crisis continues to grow. The lives of millions, in particular the most vulnerable and especially children, remain in jeopardy as they wait for clean water, food and medical aid. In the southern Sindh province some estimates indicate that only 3% of affected people have been reached. If accurate this is an unacceptable situation.

Last Thursday I met with the United Nation’s humanitarian aid chief, John Holmes. His message was that, unless aid speeds up, the future for the fifteen million people whose homes and livelihoods have been washed away by this terrible disaster looks increasingly bleak. I assured him of Ireland's commitment to assisting those at risk as quickly as possible in close coordination with the international humanitarian community. This is a global disaster and requires a global response particularly in relation to logistics, transport and equipment.

To date Ireland has pledged funding of €2million towards the humanitarian response to the floods and we will continue to work closely with our partners internationally to help the collective effort to reach those in danger.

I am taking the opportunity tomorrow to join with the Ambassador of Pakistan in briefing the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs. I will update them on the current humanitarian situation and on the international response to date. I will continue to call on the international community to speed up its response and save lives in Pakistan at this critical point."

Note for Editors:

Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. For further information, visit www.irishaid.ie.

A meeting of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs will be held in Committee Room 3, LH2000, at 12 noon on Tuesday, 24 August 2010 to discuss the Current Situation in Pakistan with Mr. Peter Power TD., Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Overseas Development, and H.E. Naghmana A. Hashmi, Ambassador to Ireland of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Flooding in Pakistan since the end of July has now affected twenty million people. To date, Ireland has provided funding of €2 million to the humanitarian response to the floods. This assistance is to be channelled through established Irish Aid partners, including the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organisations.

Ireland contributed €20 million to the United Nation's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2009 and a total of €73 million since it was set up in 2006 following the Asian Tsunami. The CERF, which was established with the assistance of Ireland and learning from the lessons of the Tsunami, provides immediately-accessible funds to the UN for use in a crisis such as that in Pakistan. Ireland is the seventh largest donor to this fund.