Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:08 am (KSA) 21:08 pm (GMT)

Riyadh tops world Pakistan flood relief funds

Pakistan flood victims stand in a line to receive food handouts from a charity at a camp Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
Pakistan flood victims stand in a line to receive food handouts from a charity at a camp Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Saudi Arabia has pledged $124.29 million aid for Pakistan’s flood relief campaign, surpassing the western economic giants - and Islamabad’s allies in war against terror - in their announcements towards the massive relief campaign urgently needed to protect nearly 40 million people from starvation and diseases.

The Saudi commitments confirmed to Islamabad were the biggest so far and was in addition to the 2500 tons of dates already sent to Pakistan earlier this week, officials said in Islamabad.

“Islamabad has received aid pledges amounting at $466.11 million, of which Riyadh has contributed the largest portion, estimated at $124.29 million,” a top government official said.

Islamabad has been critical of the western donors for their slow and insufficient response towards relief campaign compared to the magnitude of the catastrophe.

Officials said Washington pledged $90 million, inclusive of the army helicopters and crew members, already sent on Islamabad’s disposal for relief operations.

While the European Union pledged $25 million including medicine and food supplies.

The generous donation announced by Saudia Arabia was hailed across Pakistan as an expected positive gesture from a time-tested friend. The gesture came in contrast to the scant contribution of western countries allied with Islamabad over the last decade in the war against terror.

The NATO forces, engaged with Pakistan against al-Qaeda and Taliban in the country’s northern mountainous areas, have so far abstained from committing anything towards Islamabad’s flood relief operations.

The U.N. has also complained against the western donors for not being swift and generous towards a country experiencing one of the biggest human disasters in modern history. The U.N. appealed for at least $2 billion funds from the world, which are needed to salvage and rehabilitate around 40 million people affected.

Islamabad has also called for an estimated $15 billion assistance from the world, which it needs to cope with the catastrophe that threatens almost half of its population with starvation and diseases.

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