Wednesday, November 10, 2010

U.S. Donates to Pakistan Flood Victims

On November 8th the United States donated $90 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to assist the WFP’s relief and food operations in Pakistan. More than 7 million Pakistanis have been affected by the recent floods. This donation will consist of US$45 million in cash and an in-kind food donation of US$45 million in wheat flour, vegetable oil and dried peas. The cash portion of the donation will be used to purchase food locally inside Pakistan, supporting farmers and the Pakistani economy.

This donation is especially news-worthy because the U.S. does not have a great track record in providing foreign aid to countries in need. In fact, the U.S. has often been one of the lowest ranked wealthy countries in providing international development aid. The U.S.'s military spending on the other hand is enormous - more than 10 times the size of its foreign aid budget. Although the U.S. clearly has vested interests in developing Pakistan, the U.S.'s donation is still a promising step forward for U.S. foreign policy and aid.

The recovery process will be a long one for Pakistanis, however the WFP has accomplished a great deal thus far. The WFP is providing life-saving rations to some 1.7 million people still displaced by flood waters, and more than 5 million people have already returned home and are receiving a return ration along with seeds from the government and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

-Clare O.

SOURCE: World Food Programme