November 1, 2005
by Kevin Caruso
Last week the United Nations indicated that they would need $550 million to effectively
Respond to the Pakistan earthquake emergency. The $550 million amount was raised from an earlier figure of $312 million to $550 million. But only $131 million has been pledged. And the U.N. is expressing concerns that disastrous consequences could ensue if greater funds were not received soon.
"It's not enough," said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N. "It's very disappointing."
Simon Pluess, another U.N. spokesman, said that the U.N.’s food program has only enough money to rent a third ot the helicopters that are needed.
"We just don't have the money,” Pless said. "If we don't get the money, there's a real danger that in about two weeks' time we'll have to ground these helicopters. Despite all the capacity we have on the ground, we won't be able to deliver to all these mountainous areas.”
Byrs said other agencies covered by the U.N. appeal faced similar shortfalls: the World Health Organization has received 35 percent of its appeal, UNICEF 27 percent and the International Organization for Migration 12.7 percent.
"If money does not come, some agencies will have to slow down their programs," she said.