A prominent US lawmaker on Sunday described the $53million USAID to flood-ravaged Pakistan as a 'drop in the bucket' and urged President Joe Biden's administration to do much more for the relief of an estimated 30 million displaced people in the country.
Addressing the members of the Pakistan-American community in Edison, New Jersey, US, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez said, "We need to stand together with Pakistan.”
He expressed his sympathy over the heavy loss of life resulting from the climate-induced floods and maintained that "we have to get a disaster relief package for Pakistan from US Congress and organise an international donors conference for the flood victims.”
Speaking at an event organised by the American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee (APPAC), Menendez furthered that he is willing to work with anyone in the US Congress, "who is willing to work with us to help Pakistan”.
Read Ambassador Khan thanks US for additional flood relief of $20m
Head of the APPAC Dr Ijaz Ahmad welcomed Menendez and said: “The Pakistani community was working hard to raise funds for their compatriots in distress.”
Other committee members, including academic Faizan Haq, Dr Mehmood Alam and Asad Chaudhry, were also present at the event.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Masood Khan, thanked Senator Menendez, Congress and the US government for expressing solidarity with Pakistan and for providing timely assistance for the initial stage of flood response in the country.
Ambassador Khan also thanked Senator Menendez for closely monitoring the flood situation in Pakistan and reaching out to the US administration for providing urgent humanitarian assistance for rescue and for advocating a long-term commitment to rehabilitation and reconstruction.
He expressed his gratitude towards the US for acknowledging the link between extreme weather patterns stemming from climate change and the unprecedented floods in Pakistan.
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Ambassador Khan lauded the role of the Pakistani-American community, humanitarian organisations, civil society members and philanthropists in mobilising support for flood victims in the country.
“The real challenge lies ahead as we enter into the phase of bringing life back to the flood-affected areas, rebuilding roads, repairing and restoring infrastructure, generating, cultivating cropland and constructing houses, schools and hospitals,” he said, adding that this was a herculean task for which Pakistan will need continued US support.
Consul General of Pakistan in New York Ayesha Ali also appreciated the role of the Pakistani-American community in raising donations and said, “Our diaspora community has always stood up in times of need and have always given back to Pakistan.”
“The biggest challenge would be in the recovery and relief phase and we should continue to support the flood victims in Pakistan,” she added.