Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard C. Holbrooke announced today that $165 million in U.S. funds are being committed to programs for humanitarian relief, early recovery, and long-term reconstruction efforts to support the internally displaced in Pakistan. The distribution of these previously pledged funds will boost the capacity of critical programs to meet the changing needs of displaced families in Pakistan.
The $165 million will be channeled both to meet the ongoing needs of displaced persons, located in camps and in host communities, and also to address the needs of families as they return to rebuild their homes and communities in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. Specifically:
· $45 million will be provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support locally driven rehabilitation of basic infrastructure, including: water systems; health facilities; schools; roads; and bridges – maximizing the use of local labor and resources.
· $30 million will be contributed by USAID for small-scale infrastructure and community development grants for displaced families in NWFP.
· $25 million will be provided by USAID to give families resources needed to rebuild their homes and livelihood. This will be facilitated through community-driven, quick-impact cash-for-work programs in areas of reconstruction and return. This could include removal of rubble and rehabilitation of irrigation systems in conflict-affected areas. As part of this assistance, USAID will support Pakistani government efforts to rebuild public buildings and facilitate the return of civil servants.
· $23 million will be contributed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from the State Department’s Bureau for Refugees, Population and Migration (PRM) for humanitarian relief and managing the voluntary return of displaced families to their homes. This includes providing emergency shelter and non-food items to camps managed by UNHCR, as well as to displaced families in host communities. It also includes protecting children from violence and reuniting unaccompanied children with their parents, and funding facilitated transportation to assist the Pakistani authorities to support the return of displaced people to their homes.
· $20 million will be provided by USAID to rebuild education infrastructure across Dir, Swat, and Buner. More than 315 schools in NWFP have been damaged or destroyed due to the Taliban insurgency, and nearly 4,000 more are serving as informal camps for approximately 200,000 internally displaced persons.
· $12 million will be contributed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), from the State Department’s bureau for refugees, to be used for humanitarian operations and assistance for returning families as they rebuild their lives. This includes support for operations that assist displaced families in host communities and in camps run by the Pakistan Red Crescent Society/ICRC, help for those who need to trace their family members, and provision of aid to people living in conflict-affected areas.
· $10 million will be provided by USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) for immediate livelihood and agriculture programs, mobile health clinics in Buner and Swat, and cash-for-work activities. As part of this assistance, OFDA will provide tool kits valued at approximately $2 million, which will be distributed through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and will include supplies such as shovels, pickaxes, and hammers.
Much of this money was included in the Obama Administration’s supplemental appropriation for Pakistan last month, and the new disbursements will enable UNHCR, ICRC, IOM and other courageous relief organizations to more effectively and expeditiously serve the Pakistani people.
In addition to new programs from existing financial commitments, the State Department will provide a new grant of nearly $1 million that will allow the Pakistani government to work with U.S. and Pakistani telecom companies to deploy an SMS-text messaging system designed to help displaced families obtain critical information from the government, international relief agencies, and local community members.
Today’s announcement is a further indication of the American people’s commitment to support the Pakistani people in their time of need. Since May 2009, the Obama Administration has committed more than $320 million to the Pakistani people to help them respond to this crisis. In addition to its own contributions, the U.S. Government has also actively encouraged financial contributions from other countries.