SIKANDER SHAHEEN ISLAMABAD - Special Envoy to United Nations Secretary General in Pakistan Rauf Engin Soysal said that humanitarian community, United Nations and flood affectees were standing hand in hand to bring Pakistans flood ravaged areas back to life. He was talking to The Nation on Saturday after the inauguration of a painting exhibition Stories of Success, organised by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to highlight the struggle of the flood affectees. The special envoy said that OCHA had so far received $ 1.1 billion of the required $ 1.9 billion, which was an encouraging sign for the redressal of flood affectees plight. When asked about the serious humanitarian challenges that the flood affectees were facing in Sindh regarding the provisions of food, medicines and shelter, the special envoy said, Yes the challenge are there but the good thing is that all of us stand hand in hand to solve them. We would take up the funding related issues with donors to make sure that funds keep arriving for early recovery and consolidated humanitarian assistance of flood-hit people. In reply to another query, the UN envoy confirmed that the early recovery projects were still under funded despite that $ 1.1 billion were received. Soysal also confirmed that he would actively take up these issues during meetings with donors in Geneva next month. The early recovery projects are funded at 39 per cent and we want to increase this percentage as much higher as possible, he said. Regarding the plight of over 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPS), the envoy said that the UN was making mandatory arrangements to make sure that IDPs were not forgotten and the under-funding problem for IDPs humanitarian aid would also be taken up with donors in Geneva. Soysal, former Turkish ambassador to Pakistan, said that he had visited Peshawar and Nowshera to help IDPs when he was working as Turkish envoy here and he would again visit those areas soon. Asked if he was optimistic in overcoming the humanitarian challenges that Pakistan was confronting, the UN official said, We have to be. The donors have made valuable contributions for Pakistans humanitarian cause and we are working closely with them as well as with Pakistans federal and provincial governments and the humanitarian agencies to meet these challenges. OCHA Country Director in Pakistan Manuel Bessler said that the flood affectees had shown remarkable resilience and courage to grapple with the huge natural calamity. The commitment of these people to return to normal life is great. Despite all the miseries, challenges and difficulties, the flood affectees have bravely coped with all the obstacles to start new lives, he said. Regarding the painting exhibition, Bessler said that 42 of the 90 paintings of the flood victims were selected to highlight their bravery and courage against the last years unprecedented flash floods. He said that part of these paintings would be exhibited in Geneva, Lahore and Karachi. We have worked really hard to make this event happen but its not about UN agencies, its about the survival and courage of those people who survived all the odds in flood ravaged region, he told this scribe.