ISLAMABAD - Struggling with the scares funds, the United Nations in collaboration with the Pakistani government has made another funding request of $440 million to the international community for the provisions of humanitarian assistance to the seemingly ignored affectees of the last years' monsoon floods.

The nine-month Floods 2011 Early Recovery Framework (January-September 2012), officially launched on Tuesday for the ‘restoration of lives and livelihoods’ in the flood affected areas of Sindh, envisages humanitarian support to some 10,000 families that are yet to return to their hometowns through 215 humanitarian projects.

The framework is sixth in line with the humanitarian programmes the UN launched in collaboration with the Pakistani government for the assistance of the conflict and natural calamities' victims, over the last two years. Majority of these programmes remains marred with funding issues.

Timo Pakkala, the UN Resident Coordinator in Pakistan, however, evaluated the prevailing scenario on an optimistic note. "You think half of the glass is empty, I believe half of the glass is full," he told this scribe after the formal event, followed by a media briefing.

"Despite that the donors had funded over $1.3 billion in 2010 they again contributed close to 50 per cent last year. It's very encouraging," he said, when asked. On sensitising the donors in the wake of repeated emergencies in Pakistan, the UN official said, "Today, we have exchanged highest levels of commitments with the Government of Pakistan and donors. So, the sensitisation process has started, you see."

Earlier, the media briefing was addressed by Timo Pakkala, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir and the head of UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan, Lynn Hastings. The speakers appreciated the donors' community for their ‘generosity’ towards Pakistan.

With exception to the Pakistan Floods Emergency Response Plan (PFERP) 2010 that is funded at $1.37 billion out of the required $1.96 billion (almost 70 per cent), all the five previously launched humanitarian programmes remain largely under-funded.

The PFERP oversees humanitarian assistance to the 2010 flood victims. Last year's Pakistan Rapid Response Plan Floods (PRRPF) 2011 has so far received $170 million against the required $356 million, which make 48 per cent of the funding requirements.

Moreover, the$661 million Pakistan Humanitarian Response Plan (PHRP) remained less than 50 per cent funded with only $308 million received, when it met its timeframe in December 2010. The $320 million unmet commitments of the PHRP 2010 were incorporated in its Prioritisation Statement that sought $240 million.

The unmet requirements, excluding $20 million unassigned funds for the statement, stand at $366 million. The PHRP and the Prioritisation Statement were launched for the provisions of humanitarian aid to the people displaced during operations Raah-e-Raast and Raah-e-Nijat, initiated against militants by Pakistan Army in 2009 and 2010.

Another significant humanitarian programme, the Complex Emergency Plan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA, is funded at $117 million with the damage needs assessment still underway owing to continued military operations in some parts of the tribal areas. It is believed that the funds needed are far greater than the received ones.

In a telephonic conversation with this scribe from New York on the January 24, Director OCHA Rashid Khalikov had hoped that the donors would address the issue with the allocation of fresh funds. "I have reasons to be optimistic that donors would give a generous attention to the needs of people who'd been affected badly by the conflicts and natural calamities in Pakistan, Haiti, Horn of Africa and elsewhere. Pakistan has survived real humanitarian challenges triggered by natural calamities and manmade conflicts. Hundreds of Pakistanis cannot and must not be let isolated in the hour of need," he had said.

The Rapid Response Plan would meet its timeframe next month with no significant funding commitments to be materialised in the coming days. The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has closed 260 of its nutrition centres in Sindh due to financial constraints. The Floods 2011 ER Framework envisages the UN and Pakistan's joint support for food security, basic social services, shelter, community infrastructure, health, nutrition, water and sanitation to flood victims.