Italy offers 80 million euros to flood-hit Pakistan

Rome, Sep 10 (Calcutta Tube) Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said Italy will grant flood-devastated Pakistan 80 million euros ( around $101 million) in relief. The money follows the 4.5 million euros Rome has already earmarked for the south Asian country.

Speaking to reporters in Rome following a meeting with Pakistani finance minister Abdul Hafiz Sheikh, Frattini said 20 million euros of funds will come in the form of debt relief, 10 million euros as direct emergency relief and 50 million euros in credits.

Pakistan is struggling to juggle the need to manage emergency rescue efforts and fight a deadly Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgency.

‘Not helping Pakistan now and not doing anything will cost more than helping the country now,’ Frattini said.

Sheikh said his country was stretched thin in desperate need of international help or run the risk of deep economic debilitation.

‘We tried to mobilise our resources…but the floods killed many people, destroyed cultivated land and infrastructure limiting the possibility of economic growth,’ he said.

Around 1,800 people in Pakistan have died in recent flooding which has reportedly affected 21 million people.

The country’s government has been the target of criticism for alleged corruption that has hampered relief efforts. The United Nations’ has raised two thirds of its $460 million goal in its flood appeal.

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