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Flood-Stricken Pakistan Gets $2 Billion Aid Pledge From World Bank

Boys play in floodwaters on the main Indus highway in Sehwan, Pakistan, on September 15.
Boys play in floodwaters on the main Indus highway in Sehwan, Pakistan, on September 15.

The World Bank has pledged to provide about $2 billion in aid for Pakistan as the country tries to recover from record rainfall and deadly flooding.

Torrential monsoon rains have left more than one-third of the country underwater and killed more than 1,600 people, and left Islamabad struggling to fund relief efforts as the floodwaters recede.

On September 24, the World Bank's vice president for South Asia, Martin Raiser, announced after an official visit to Pakistan that the international lending institution was significantly boosting its earlier pledge of $850 million in emergency aid. The new $2 billion figure includes the earlier relief package.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives and livelihoods due to the devastating floods and we are working with the federal and provincial governments to provide immediate relief to those who are most affected," Raiser said after visiting Sindh Province.

The floods have hammered the southern provinces of Sindh and Balochistan and affected more than 33 million people. Roads and other infrastructure have been wiped out, crops have been destroyed, and the World Health Organization has warned about a possible "second disaster" due to the population's vulnerability to infectious disease.

On September 23, the government of Sindh Province requested that Islamabad immediately send more medical workers to deal with the spread of malaria, dysentery, and cholera. Provincial health officials said that more than 600 people had already died of various diseases, with 300 deaths recorded from malaria alone.

Sindh's health department has said that at least 25,000 children are suffering from malnutrition and disease.

To cover its $2 billion pledge, the World Bank will repurpose funds from existing projects.

During a recent trip to Pakistan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that by some estimates Pakistan will need $30 billion to recover.

With reporting by AP

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