World Vision has welcomed the additional $40 million committed to the Pakistan floods, announced today by Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd.
“Make no mistake – this money will save lives,” said World Vision chief executive Tim Costello.
“This announcement typifies the compassionate and poverty-focused approach to foreign affairs that Australia needs, and will only further enhance our international reputation.”
“This announcement comes ahead of UN meetings in New York to discuss progress on the fight against global poverty. It is pleasing to see the Australian Government, through the Foreign Affairs Minister, demonstrating such commitment to these issues.
“Both at a public and government level, this places Australia as one of the most generous responders to the Pakistan floods – a fact that we should be proud of.”
But Mr Costello also warned that the death toll from dehydration, hunger and disease could be greater than the number of lives lost during the flooding.
“This emergency continues to unfold. We remain gravely concerned about the ongoing danger from water-borne diseases like diarrhoea, skin allergies and cholera. We need to work quickly to rehabilitate wells and provide water purification options.
Mr Costello also said that while nutrition wasn’t the first problem to come to mind after floods, the large-scale devastation of crops and livestock would present food security problems for flood survivors.
“The entire country’s food supplies have been wiped out. We are concerned about long-term food security, due to crops and livestock destroyed this year. With irrigation canals destroyed or damaged, next year’s crop is at risk too,” said Mr Costello.
“As well as providing a direct food source for subsistence farmers, this also means food prices will be driven up, further jeopardising hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who were already struggling to buy food. So there will be both short-term and longer-term issues to work through.”
The World Vision appeal remains open, and in urgent need of donations.
Donations can be made by calling 13 32 40 or online at www.worldvision.com.au
Tim Costello is available for interview.
Please contact Dominic McInerney on 0428 584 809.