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ITU launches appeal to assist flood-affected victims in Pakistan
 
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Photo credit: AFP

ITU has responded to an urgent appeal from the Government of Pakistan to assist flood-affected victims in that country. Over 15 million people have been displaced and vast tracts of fertile arable land have been inundated, affecting the means of livelihood of several millions more with severe long-term repercussions on the economic and social life of the country.

In view of the overwhelming scale of this disaster, ITU has responded to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call to speed up assistance.

ITU is working in a coordinated international effort within the UN system to assist in relief and rehabilitation work in the wake of this overwhelming natural disaster. As a first step, ITU has dispatched 100 broadband satellite terminal units in order to restore the critical telecommunication resources urgently needed to assist in the humanitarian and relief work currently under way. The equipment is for use by the authorities to coordinate human logistics on the ground, provide basic communications for humanitarian-aid workers, and for setting up telemedicine facilities to benefit the victims.

ITU regularly contributes emergency telecommunications assistance in the wake of humanitarian disasters, such as in the immediate aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti in January 2010 as well as in Pakistan in 2005 and many other parts of the world.

At the request of the Government of Pakistan, ITU issued an appeal for monetary assistance and opened a Fund for the Rehabilitation of Telecommunication Infrastructure in Pakistan. ITU will not be disbursing cash from this fund but will follow its stringent procurement and tracking procedures in utilizing the funds towards the rehabilitation of telecommunication infrastructure in Pakistan in the aftermath of the floods. Accurate estimates on the extent of the damage to telecommunication infrastructure can be made only after the flood waters recede. ITU intends to carry out assessment of network disruption and damage jointly with the Government of Pakistan and operators and will contribute in the reconstruction process.

 

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