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Pakistan flood response pitiful - Clegg

The international response to the Pakistan floods has been “absolutely pitiful”, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said.

Clegg also suggested donations from the public may be muted because they were “struggling to understand” the scale of the crisis.

The intervention came amid criticism that the world community has been too slow to provide aid for the estimated 20 million left homeless.

Britons have so far given £15M to help victims of the worst floods in Pakistan’s history, providing some 600,000 survivors with emergency care, clean water, food or shelter.

The UK Government has also earmarked £31.3M in aid, nearly £17M of which has now been allocated.

But the response has been lower than in the wake of the Haiti earthquake earlier this year, and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) says more is needed as the situation on the ground is deteriorating.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged the international community to step up their aid pledges after visiting some of the affected areas today, describing it as the worst natural disaster he had ever seen.

Speaking at a Town Hall-style question and answer session in London, Clegg said: “About close to one quarter of the aid already devoted to Pakistan has come from this country.

“The response from the international community as a whole, I have to say, has been lamentable. It’s been absolutely pitiful.”

Speculating on why donations had been relatively low, he added: “One of the reasons may be because this is a disaster on a scale that people are struggling to understand.

“The flooded area is the same size as England.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Barry Walton

    Is Mr Clegg, though doubtless sincere, right? Is it pitiful not to (be able to respond to) a natural event covering the area of Great Britain if the manmade infrastucture appropriate to its human occupation does not exist. That, in terms of risk, means avoiding it, attenuating its force and reponding in time to its consequences. What response would he propose to a Sovereign state over its head, what logistical action would he propose? Copy, that island in the Caribbean; what was its name? Does he understand the simple harshness and isolation of some of the places where flooding has occurred? Sadness for the suffering is certainly appropriate but handwringing about what can be done is a bit whimsical.

    On the brighter side, he could ask Channel 4.They know how to do things. Their blogging man managed to drive though the area with a full television crew in a 4*4 and was only nearly stopped once by two women jumping out onto the highway to beg for help - missed 'em though with a swerve and then sped on. God, that was close, Ginger, don't they have a highway code here?

    B Walton (F)

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