Uncommited Pledges on Pakistan

Al Jazeera captures a great quote that speaks to some of the frustrations felt by the first responders to Pakistan’s massive floods:

“We cannot spend pledges. We cannot buy purification tablets, we cannot support Pakistan with pledges,” Daniel Toole, the South Asia regional director for the UN’s children fund, Unicef, said on Tuesday. “I urge the international community to urgently change pledges into cheques.”

His anger is completely understandable.  On August 12 the UN launched a $460 million flash appeal to fund emergency relief efforts by UN agencies and NGOs.  Today, that appeal is 45% filled, at $208 million.  But there is still  $40 million left in outstanding “pledges.”  For example, the government of Canada has pledged over $30 million for relief efforts, but so far has only given the relevant UN agencies $1.9 million. You can see how that might upset first responders who are trying to cope with the biggest natural disaster in recent history. 

In any case, here is a good video from Al Jazeera showing some of the logistical challenges in reaching flood affected communities when roads are simply washed away.