A child cries outside his destroyed home at Landakai village in Swat district of Khyber PakhtoonKhwa. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan, Gulf News

New York: The UAE has pledged $5 million in support of a Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan launched by the UN last week for funding urgent relief operations targeting flood-affected population in Pakistan.

The UAE donation was announced on Friday by Reem Al Hashemi, Minister for State,  while addressing a two-day special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to call for global solidarity to help flood-hit Pakistan in the wake of the country's worst disaster in living memory and for generous support for vital relief operations.

In her statement before the extraordinary meeting , Al Hashemi expressed profound heart-felt of the government and people of the UAE to the government and people of Pakistan for the great loss in lives and properties, and displacement of millions of Pakistanis.

While voicing UAE's solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan at these critical times, the UAE minister, who chairs the UAE delegation to the UN gathering, reiterated the UAE's determination to pursue delivery of urgent and much-needed assistance to save flood-victims and secure their basic daily living requirements in order to resume their life at the nearest opportunity.

Al Hashemi highlighted the longstanding cordial bonds with Pakistan under which the UAE has been committed since 1975 to offer long-term direct and indirect development aid through its partnership with the UN agencies. According to her, the UAE has given its hand to Pakistan in several calamities it faced during the Swat events in 2009 and the 2005 devastating earthquake just to name a few.

The UAE, she added, had, since eruption of the recent foods crisis that hit Pakistan, rushed towards delivering urgent relied aid, and dispatching aircraft loaded with food, medical and sheltering supplies the floods-swept areas.

"The government of the UAE is still rushing urgent assistance and relief aircraft up to date and pledged to continue sending these assistance in the coming period through direct coordination with the specialised government agencies in Pakistan," she affirmed.

"The UAE has allocated three helicopters to airlift and drop relief items to areas ravaged by floods and rescue victims,"she added.

"We do realise the tremendous magnitude of devastation Pakistan has experienced and therefore the situation calls boosting international assistance to help Pakistan's recovery and rehabilitation so as to avoidrecurrence of the destructive repercussions of this disaster,' she remarked.

She commended the UN and its secretary general for the sincere and persistent efforts they made to coordinate international actions to aid Pakistan at these difficult circumstances.

"The floods in Pakistan serve as another alarming bell to take the
climate change issue seriously and to take practical measures to face its
dangerous impacts on countries, mainly the developing ones," the UAE
minister said.