I would like to begin by offering condolences from the people of New Zealand to the people of Pakistan. We have been shocked by the severity of the flooding and deeply saddened by the unprecedented loss to life, livelihoods, and the environment.
We are aware that this is the middle of the monsoon season and that the flooding could continue. It is tragic that the rains that might have brought life-giving relief to such an arid region have had such devastating consequences.
That the people of Pakistan are suffering once again, only five years after the massive earthquake in 2005, only intensifies the tragedy.
The humanitarian and reconstruction challenge ahead for Pakistan and the international community, is of an unprecedented scale. New Zealand stands alongside others in the international community, ready to assist Pakistan with the huge task ahead.
Within days of the tragedy unfolding, New Zealand contributed NZ$2 million dollars to the relief effort, to be channelled primarily through UNICEF and the Red Cross, but also to non-governmental organisations with strong ties to the community. Today I am pleased to advise that the New Zealand Government has doubled the initial contribution and has committed a further NZ$2 million in support of the humanitarian relief efforts in Pakistan, bringing New Zealand’s total contribution, so far, to NZ$4 million dollars. The additional NZ$2 million dollar contribution will be channelled through the OCHA managed Emergency Response Fund for Pakistan. The New Zealand funding is not ear-marked, in order to provide greatest flexibility for agencies to respond as required.
Finally, New Zealand would like to also offer its support to the tremendous effort undertaken by those involved so far in the relief effort in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.