About 17 million Pakistanis have been significantly affected by flooding which has killed more than 1,500 people [AFP]
Muslim countries and organisations have pledged nearly $1bn in cash and supplies to relief efforts for flood victims in Pakistan, the head of a group of Islamic states has said.
“They [Muslim countries and organisations] have shown that they are one of the largest contributors of assistance both in kind and cash,” Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, head of the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said in Islamabad on Sunday.
The aid pledges come from OIC institutions and telethons held in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, he said.
Ihsanoglu did not provide a breakdown of the pledges or say how much of the money would go to the Pakistani government versus non-governmental organisations.
Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s prime minister, criticised donations made to foreign NGOs rather than the Pakistani government, saying the money would be wasted.
“Eighty per cent of the aid will not come to you directly,” he said on Sunday, referring to Pakistani citizens.
“It will come through their NGOs, and they will eat half of it,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab reports on the efforts to save the southern city of Thatta
The Pakistani government has been criticised for not doing enough to help the 17 million people who have been significantly affected by the floods.
Flooding, which began about a month ago after exceptionally heavy monsoon rains pounded the country’s northwest, has spread down the country towards the coast, inundating agricultural land and damaging or destroying more than 1.2 million homes.
An estimate 72,000 children are at risk of dying from malnutrition if more immediate aid is not provide the worst-hit areas.
“We are very concerned that, with more recent flooding in the south and nearly a million displaced in recent days, the challenges that are already there are continuing to grow,” Stacey Winston, spokesperson for UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Al Jazeera on Monday.
“More aid and funding is coming in, but we still need more. There is more flooding, more misery and more challenges, but we are trying, as fast as we can, to reach as many as we can.”
More than 1,500 people have been killed and eight million others are in need of emergency assistance across the country.
“We don’t have any form of shelter and are desperate for food and water, not to mention food, tents or any other facility,” Mohammed Usman, a labourer who fled the city of Sujawal several days ago, said.
Floodwaters have finally begun to recede around the city of Thatta, which has been under threat for several days. Most of the city’s 300,000 people have already fled.
“The breach near Thatta has been half-plugged, and fortunately the flood has also changed its course and is moving away from the city and its populated areas,” said Hadi Bakhsh Kalhoro, a city official.
Pakistan’s meteorological department said the waters around the nearby Kotri barrage were receding, but warned that a danger of flooding would remain for several more days.