The U.S. Institute of Peace is pleased to host His Excellency Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States. Ambassador Haqqani discussed the recent floods in Pakistan, detailing the scale of the disaster, the relief and reconstruction efforts made thus far by the Government of Pakistan, and the mechanisms established to ensure an efficient and transparent use of resources dedicated to flood response. He was joined by representatives from two leading relief organizations currently on the ground in Pakistan. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}


Pakistan Ambassador Paints a Grim Picture of Post-flood Conditions

The United States Institute of Peace hosted His Excellency Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., to discuss the government and international response to floods in Pakistan, on October 4th.

The July 2010 floods in Pakistan submerged a large portion of the country and affected 20.25 million people; affecting more people than the 2008 Nargis Cyclone, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and the 2010 Haitian earthquake combined.

Moeed Yusuf, South Asia adviser at USIP, noted the importance of the ambassador talking about the matter, saying “We need to understand what the situation is like on the ground and what it is that the Pakistan government is also doing.”

Mercy Corps Director of Global Emergencies Randy Martin, and American Red Cross International Services Regional Director for Asia-Pacific/Middle East/Europe Mark Preslan spoke about the response of nongovernment organizations (NGO), specifically in Pakistan’s Sindh and Swat valley regions. USIP’s Vice President of the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention, Abiodun Williams, moderated the discussion.

Haqqani said more than a month has elapsed since the floods, but one-fifth of the country remains underwater and millions are without shelter. The flooding is estimated to have cost several billion dollars in damages. Although there has been international response, Haqqani said, it is nothing compared to the international response to the Haiti earthquake earlier this year or Pakistan’s 2005 earthquake. The United Nations asked for $2 billion to help Pakistan recover from the massive floods, the largest international aid appeal in history.
Haqqani praised the U.S. for its response saying, “The U.S. was the first donor and was first in terms of committing resources and military helicopters.”

Haqqani said Pakistan’s neighbors—India, China, Afghanistan, and Iran—have also provided assistance to the people of Pakistan. Nevertheless, Pakistan needs more help. He also said the Pakistan government worked hard to evacuate flood areas and provide food to those who have lost their homes and livelihood because of the flood. He said lives were saved because of the quick response of the Pakistani government and military.

Haqqani said, in his view, the international media have focused more on the political implications of the flood, rather than the humanitarian needs of the Pakistanis.
“The Pakistan flood is a major catastrophe that has not been fully understood by the way it has been reported,” Haqqani said.
He said the Pakistani government has setup 5,392 relief camps and that Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority has coordinated with local NGOs to provide aid to Pakistanis.

The August 2010 Peace Brief “Flooding Challenges Pakistan’s Government and the International Community,” by Altaf Ullah Khan and Mary Hope Schwoebel, looks at some of the challenges Pakistan will face in its short-term and long-term recovery efforts. USIP also put together a slideshow of photos from the July floods.

According to Martin and Preslan, clean water is still difficult to find, and many Pakistanis still have acute health problems, including diarrhea and upper-respiratory infections. Although many people suffer from hygiene-related ailments, Haqqani said, there has not been a wide spread outbreak of disease.

Martin said Mercy Corps has been in Pakistan for 25 years and responded to the earthquake in 2005. Preslan, who represented the International Organization of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, said international health teams have been working alongside local Pakistani Red Crescent volunteers to provide healthcare and hygiene projects. He said the Red Cross and Red Crescent workers have been telling Pakistanis where they can find aid, educating people about the potable water, and restoring “family links” with those who were displaced during the flood and evacuations.

The Pakistani government as well as Pakistani and International NGOs are working to create a framework for a long-term recovery plan. The ambassador, Preslan and Martin agreed that Pakistan’s stability is dependent on the long-term management of the flood disaster and the continued dedication of resources to the humanitarian needs of the Pakistani people.

Following the event, USIP’s Williams commented on the Institute’s multipronged approach to its Pakistan work. “USIP has worked actively to promote peace and stability in Pakistan over the past several years,” he said. “Our Pakistan program seeks to achieve three complementary goals: to strengthen capacity to mitigate conflict; to promote peacebuilding through education and civil society initiatives; and to improve mutual understanding between the U.S. and Pakistan. USIP is increasingly the go-to place for anyone who requires serious analysis on Pakistan.”

Accordingly, Williams will moderate another relevant event on October 15 at USIP, where experts will assess the relief efforts thus far and analyze the challenges ahead, the next steps for donors, and the implications for the Pakistan-U.S. relationship. Learn more and register for the event, “Relief Efforts in the Wake of the Pakistani Floods.”


  • H.E. Ambassador Husain Haqqani
    Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    Islamic Republic of Pakistan
  • Randy Martin
    Director of Global Emergencies
    Mercy Corps
  • Mark Preslan
    Regional Director, Asia-Pacific/Middle East/Europe
    American Red Cross - International Services
  • Abiodun Williamsmoderator
    Vice President, Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention
    U.S. Institute of Peace

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