Austria Commits Aid to Pakistan

News Brief: Sept. 2010

Austria will send five million Euros worth of aid to victims of flooding in Pakistan, following an emergency meeting at the UN. The move was announced by Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann Aug. 24 almost 4 weeks after floods had devastated much of the country.

Heavy monsoon rains in late July caused dams to burst, which has affected up to 20 million people by destroying an estimated 1.2 million homes and roads and bridges vital for humanitarian aid, according to the UN.

“It is important to show solidarity with the suffering population,” the Chancellor said, confirming that Federal Chancellery, the Ministry of Finance and the Foreign Ministry had jointly put together an aid package “so that Austria will participate in the international aid measures.”

The Austrian government has recently been criticized for it’s sluggish response to the crises, after pledging only 200,000 Euros following the disaster, a move that was described as “disgraceful” and “miserable” by the head of the International Aid Department of the Austrian Red Cross, Max Santner.

While the European Union has set a goal of having member states contribute 0.51% of GDP toward international development projects, the Austrian government committed only 0.3% in 2009, down from 0.43% from 2008, according to the OECD.

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