ISLAMABAD - The international community will launch around $8 billion appeal for reconstruction of the flood-hit areas. The appeal is expected sometime this year, it has been learnt reliably. The deliberations between the United Nations, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and government of Pakistan have lately been underway to this effect. The WB is reportedly playing a key role in this regard. UNs Acting Resident Coordinator and Country Director United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pakistan Mengesha Kebede had confirmed to this newspaper during a meeting last week that the world bodies were in consultations with the Pakistani government for launching this mega appeal. As needs grow, billions and billions of dollars would be needed for a large-scale reconstruction in the flood-hit areas. The international donor organisations and the Pakistani government would work together in order to put up a strengthened response during reconstruction phase for building the infrastructure, he said. The UNHCR chief stated that any specific timeframe regarding the launch of international community appeal, could only be ascertained after the modalities were finalised in the coming months. Kebede said the initial funding needs for the early recovery were estimated at $ 400 million that grew keeping in view the unprecedented nature of destruction and devastation the last years flash floods brought. The humanitarian operations would switch focus to reconstruction phase after the completion of ER operations, the UN official said. Considering that the United Nations presently faces a shortfall of $600 million in its ongoing early recovery phase, the gigantic funding needs of $8 billion for the reconstruction comes no lesser than a lurking challenge. The UNs last year humanitarian appeal launched for the relief and ER through Pakistan Floods Relief and Early Recovery Response Plan (PFRERRP) of $1.963 billion is currently funded at $1.367 billion (around 70 per cent). Of the required $1.963 billion, $956 million are earmarked for ER, $928 million for relief and $53 million for ER and relief combined. Of the received $1.367 billion, the relief is funded at 80 per cent while ER is only funded at 40 per cent, which makes the aforementioned ER funds shortfall ($ 600 million). However, UN economic expert at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Claudia Salgado, believed things would be different during the reconstruction phase. I think there is fundamental difference between the last years humanitarian appeals and the upcoming calls for reconstruction. The flash floods 2010 brought such intense and sudden destruction that the devastation scale kept unfolding till the very end. Nobody thought that would happen. The world community had to come up for Pakistans emergency rescue that primarily dominated the relief operations. The reconstruction stage would be different, she told TheNation from Geneva via phone. Salgado, who was part of the UNCTAD team that prepared World Investment Report 2011, said the leading international financial institutions had prepared Damage Needs Assessments (DNAs) last year for Pakistans large-scale reconstruction after floods. I think the donors are very clear about DNAs and they would hopefully make funds allocations accordingly. They know exactly what to do. Theres no comparison between last years emergency funding and funds specifications for reconstruction, she said. The DNAs by the WB and the ADB say that Pakistan needs over $10 billion for reconstruction in flood-ravaged areas. The UN launched its largest-ever humanitarian appeal of $2.06 billion through Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan (PFERP) on September 17, 2010. The PFERP was revision of $459.7 million Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) launched on August 11, 2010. The $2.06 billion PFERP was revised to $1.963 billion Pakistan floods relief and early recovery response plan (PFRERRP) on November 5. The UN switched the focus of humanitarian assistance from the relief to ER during start of March this year while residual relief activities ended in April. The shift of humanitarian assistance focus from the ER to the reconstruction requires the completion of ER projects that are struggling with funds shortage. From the UN side, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are reportedly part of consultations for the launch of international communitys $ 8 billion appeal.