Oxfam urges immediate Pakistan floods reconstruction

29th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Reconstruction efforts must begin immediately in Pakistan to prevent the flooding disaster from becoming a long-term catastrophe, aid agency Oxfam said Sunday.

The British-based international charity said in a statement released here that billions of dollars would be needed to start rebuilding schools, roads, bridges and hospitals immediately, adding that the aid effort was struggling to respond.

"One month into a crisis we would expected the situation to have stabilised and the long-term planning to have begun," said Neva Khan, Oxfam's country director in Pakistan.

"But we are still in phase one of an increasing catastrophe, evacuating people, providing them with shelter, trying to get clean water and sanitation to those people who need it.

"Pakistan doesn't have the luxury of waiting for the emergency phase to be over before starting the reconstruction."

Oxfam warned there was a danger that many farmers would miss the winter planting season in September.

Meanwhile the clean-up operation would take months, meaning millions of people would be facing the colder months in temporary shelters, or out in the open, it said.

Reconstruction efforts must look at ensuring Pakistan is better placed to cope with future crises, it added.

"Rebuilding the country is a process that must be led by the Pakistani people. But they will need the help and support of the international community for many years to come," Khan said.

"Nobody should expect the reconstruction process to happen overnight."

© 2010 AFP

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