Canada’s Response to Floods in Pakistan

(No. 277 - August 31, 2010 - 2:30 p.m ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today provided further details on Canada’s response to the floods in Pakistan.

“Our government will continue to act in solidarity with the people of Pakistan and to fully support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to respond to the devastating floods affecting the country,” said Minister Cannon. “At this time, the Government of Canada continues to focus its efforts on meeting the urgent needs of flood victims in partnership with the civilian organizations that are already on the ground. Canadian officials in Ottawa and Islamabad are in daily contact with the Government of Pakistan to review how best Canada can respond to emerging needs.”

“Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency, is supporting the immense humanitarian aid efforts in Pakistan to meet the urgent immediate needs of the victims of this growing crisis,” said Minister Oda. “Canada’s priority at this point is to save lives and provide critically needed food, water, shelter, medical assistance and other essential relief supplies. Canada is also supporting efforts toward the prevention of disease and the protection of children and other vulnerable people.”

On August 3, 2010, Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) made an initial contribution of $2 million for the provision of emergency food, water, sanitation, shelter, non-food items and health services. On August 14, Canada increased its contribution to $33 million, of which $25 million is being used for humanitarian assistance. The $33 million builds on more than $69 million in CIDA funding for Pakistan since 2009.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, through its Global Peace and Security Fund, will provide up to $8 million in urgently needed equipment to help the Government of Pakistan restore links to communities cut off by the flooding.

On August 22, the Government of Canada established the Pakistan Floods Relief Fund. Through the fund, the Government of Canada will match eligible donations made from August 2 until September 12, 2010. The fund will provide effective and accountable financial support to trusted Canadian and international humanitarian and development partner organizations working in the affected areas.

As the situation on the ground is continuing to evolve, an interdepartmental strategic support team has been deployed to Pakistan. This team will reinforce Canada’s High Commission to Pakistan with expert analysis on the situation and help outline options for any additional response that Canada could provide in support of international relief and early recovery efforts.

“The Canadian Forces are monitoring the dire situation in Pakistan and continue to assess the needs of those affected by this terrible flood,” said Minister MacKay. “Two Canadian Forces members have deployed to Pakistan with counterparts from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency to assess and report on events on the ground, and I know, as always, the Canadian Forces stand ready to support the people of Pakistan in the most appropriate manner.”

For more information, including advice on how to help those affected by the disaster, please visit Pakistan Floods Relief Fund.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Melissa Lantsman
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Jessica Fletcher
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency

Media Liaison Office
Department of National Defence
1-866-377-0811 or 613-996-2353

Backgrounder - Canada’s Relief Efforts in Pakistan

Heavy monsoon rains, which began on July 21, 2010, continue to affect many regions of Pakistan, causing significant flooding and landslides. It is estimated that more than 1,600 people have lost their lives because of the floods, and over 17 million have been affected by them. Extensive damage to infrastructure and transportation routes is hampering the provision of essential services.

Canada has a range of civilian and military assets to draw on to respond to natural disasters abroad, including cash contributions to trusted humanitarian partners, pre-positioned relief stockpiles and rapidly deployable civilian experts in emergency management and other fields. Members of the Canadian Forces may also be drawn upon if available and appropriate.

A number of non-military assets have already been used effectively in Pakistan.

Cash contributions

Canada can contribute funds in response to emergency appeals issued by trusted international partners such as the United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) or Canadian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the disaster-affected area.

For more information on international efforts, please see Pakistan Floods.

The Government of Canada has responded quickly and effectively to urgent humanitarian needs in Pakistan and was one of the first donors to respond to the crisis, with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) pledging $2 million on August 3.

As the situation and needs in Pakistan have evolved, Canada has made further important cash contributions to facilitate rapid action by its humanitarian partners, allocating this financial assistance to emergency relief and recovery efforts in support of appeals by the UN, the IFRC and Canadian NGOs working in Pakistan. To date, the Government of Canada has contributed some $33 million to relief efforts in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan has indicated its appreciation for Canadian efforts, and for Canada’s focus on water, health and sanitation.

The Government of Canada is supporting the humanitarian needs of the Pakistani people through an allocation of up to $25 million in humanitarian assistance. CIDA’s initial $2 million allocation ensured the provision of emergency food and non-food items, water, sanitation, shelter and health services. On August 25, CIDA released a breakdown detailing where the full $25 million in humanitarian assistance was going to help those most in need:

  • United Nations: $13.6 million
  • IFRC and International Committee of the Red Cross: $5 million
  • Non-governmental organizations: $6.4 million

For more information on how this money is being used, please see Update on Canada’s Assistance for Pakistanis Affected by Devastating Floods.

These contributions to the flood build on more than $69 million in CIDA funding since 2009 for Pakistan. The $69 million total includes bilateral aid programming, as well as $37 million for non-flood related humanitarian assistance for such initiatives as food assistance, emergency shelter, water and sanitation facilities, and basic health care for conflict-affected people in Pakistan.

CIDA is the main federal government agency responsible for humanitarian assistance and international cooperation. With the support of its humanitarian partners, it will ensure that Canada’s response to the floods is effective and meets the needs of the people of Pakistan.

Relief stocks

CIDA manages Canada’s relief stocks and ensures that they meet international standards, guaranteeing their quality and appropriateness for disaster response. Pre-existing arrangements with humanitarian partners mean these assets, once deployed, are distributed quickly to affected populations.

A shipment of Canadian relief stocks arrived in Pakistan on August 17, bringing 1,000 all-weather tents, 7,060 jerry cans, 1,000 tarps and 3,840 mosquito nets to support ongoing emergency relief operations by the IFRC and the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.

For more information, please see Response to floods in Pakistan-video.

Stabilization and reconstruction funds

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) funding will support the rule of law in Pakistan through efforts to enhance the safety and security of the people and communities affected by the floods.

Through its Global Peace and Security Fund, DFAIT will provide Pakistan with up to $8 million, of which $5 million will be allocated to supply some 28 bridges to help rebuild damaged and destroyed infrastructure in flood-affected areas. These bridges will restore lines of communication and transportation to communities that have been cut off by the flooding and help the Government of Pakistan provide security and other services to the local population.

The remainder of the funds will be allocated to comprehensive assessments of security needs.

DFAIT’s Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force manages the Global Peace and Security Fund. The Fund provides financial and operational resources to facilitate timely, effective and accountable conflict prevention, crisis response, peace operations, civilian protection and stabilization interventions in fragile states.

Pakistan Floods Relief Fund

In addition to Canada’s humanitarian response, the Government of Canada also established the Pakistan Floods Relief Fund to match the generosity of Canadians.

For every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities between August 2 and September 12, 2010, Canada will contribute one dollar to the Pakistan Floods Relief Fund. CIDA will allocate these funds to established Canadian and international humanitarian and development organizations with significant capacity in Pakistan. The funds will go to humanitarian assistance, early recovery and reconstruction efforts that benefit Pakistanis most affected by the floods.

Organizations have until September 27, 2010, to submit their letters of attestation indicating the amount of donations they have collected.

Please visit Pakistan Floods Relief Fund for more information.

The Interdepartmental Strategic Support Team

Canada’s Interdepartmental Strategic Support Team (ISST) is led by DFAIT and includes representatives of the Department of National Defence and CIDA. It may be deployed to disaster zones to assess the magnitude of the disaster and provide recommendations and options regarding possible Canadian response.

On August 27, the Government of Canada authorized the deployment of the ISST to Pakistan.

Previous deployments of Canadian technical experts

Canadian experts deployed in response to previous disasters include airport logistics, and water and sanitation specialists on standby for CIDA, epidemiologists from Public Health Agency Canada and assessment experts on the roster of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team.