The announcement was made by the World Bank’s new vice president for the South Asia region, Martin Raiser, on Saturday in a statement issued at the end of his Pakistan tour.
“As an immediate response, we are repurposing funds from existing World Bank-financed projects to support urgent needs in health, food, shelter, rehabilitation, and cash transfers,” the statement said.
The World Bank had earlier agreed to provide USD 850 million for flood relief in a meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The amount has now been increased to USD 2 billion.
As per the World Bank resident mission in Islamabad, the current portfolio has 54 projects and a total commitment of USD 13.1 billion, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The World Bank group’s portfolio supports reforms and investments to strengthen institutions, particularly in fiscal management and human development.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives and livelihoods due to the devastating floods and we are working with the federal and provincial governments to provide immediate relief to those who are most affected,” Raiser said.
In the wake of cataclysmic floods in Pakistan, the UN had also launched a USD 160 million flash appeal for immediate relief of the victims but soon it became apparent that it was not enough after National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) officials said that the floods have caused about USD 40 billion losses.
Pakistan has seen unprecedented suffering because of the country’s worst floods triggered by record rain in three decades.
As per the official data, more than 1,600 people have been killed and over 33 million affected due to the massive floods since mid-June, leaving the government at the mercy of international support.
The World Bank’s commitment is so far the biggest help to Pakistan in dealing with the huge devastation.