Pakistan's 'image deficit' hurting aid funds flow: UN
Relief agencies are having trouble obtaining funds to help millions of Pakistan flood victims as the country suffers from an "image deficit", a UN spokeswoman said Monday.
"We note often an image deficit with regards to Pakistan among Western public opinion," said Elizabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
"As a result, Pakistan is among countries that are poorly financed, like Yemen," she added.
The Unied Nations has been struggling to obtain 460 million dollars to provide emergency aid to six million victims of the country ravaged by heavy flooding. Only a fifth of the required funds have been pledged since the appeal was launched on August 11.
Melanie Brooks, spokeswoman of the humanitarian group Care International stressed that the UN must explain to donor states that "the money is not going to go to the hands of the Talibans."
"The victims are the mothers, the farmers, children. But in the past, information linked to Pakistan has always been linked to Talibans and terrorism," she said.
According to Pakistani authorities, around a quarter of the country which extends over 800,000 square kilometres (308,880 square miles) and counts 167 million inhabitants, have been affected by the floods over the last three weeks.
The UN said billions would be needed in the long term to reconstruct the villages, infrastructure and harvests devastated by the floods.
© 2010 AFP