Statement by Minister of State Hoyer on the Floods in Pakistan
(check against delivery)
First of all let me thank you, Mr President, for convening this special UN General Assembly meeting. Your initiative for this important gathering comes timely and is greatly appreciated.
Germany fully aligns itself with the Statement the Belgian Foreign Minister in his capacity as President of the Council of the European Union just delivered.
We have listened carefully to the Secretary General's dramatic report on the situation. Personally, I was deeply moved by his account of the plight of the Pakistani people.
Today, Pakistan is facing an unprecedented natural disaster which has caused tragic loss of life, enormous damage and tremendous suffering.
I would like to join previous speakers and express our sincere condolences to the Pakistani people. In Germany, our thoughts are with the many victims and their families, with those who have lost everything in this disaster and now struggle to recover.
After having received the dramatic reports from Pakistan and in response to OCHA's Flood Emergency Response Plan the German government immediately started its humanitarian assistance operations.
It is my pleasure to announce today that we have decided to further increase our humanitarian aid to 32 million US-dollars (25 million euro). This is on top of the German contributions to the EU humanitarian funds, roughly 18 million US-dollars, and the German contributions to UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The total German humanitarian aid therefore currently stands well beyond 50 million US-dollars.
The bilateral funds go to UN humanitarian organisations, to the International Committee of the Red Cross, to Non-governmental relief organisations as well as to German implementing agencies. It serves to distribute food, drinking water and to provide medical care and shelter to the people in need. Numerous humanitarian aid organisations in the affected areas are already working hard to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the flood.
We thank the Secretary-General for his leadership and also express our support for the important work of his special envoy.
In a disaster of such dimensions, the coordination of aid efforts is also of paramount importance. We commend UN Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes and OCHA for their tireless and successful efforts to coordinate the international relief reaching Pakistan.
Today, 19th August, is the World Humanitarian Day. It has been created to highlight the role of the many dedicated humanitarian workers who - under difficult and dangerous circumstances - provide life-saving aid to the victims of humanitarian disasters. Therefore, allow me to express our gratitude to the Pakistani and international aid workers in the affected areas who relentlessly work for the suffering population. Their contribution to mitigate the consequences of this crisis is invaluable. They deserve our greatest respect.
So far, our assistance is focussed on the immediate relief and early recovery period. But we must not forget: Pakistan will be confronted with far bigger challenges when the full scale of destruction becomes visible. Damaged infrastructure, destroyed crops and livestock will have massive consequences on the livelihood of the people and on the already strained economy of the country. We all agree: The International Community must stand by Pakistan – also after the waters have receded and the TV cameras have turned away.
Germany will support Pakistan to meet the immediate needs caused by the floods, and we will sustain our support through our long-term development cooperation to overcome the structural challenges the nation faces.
We have built a strong partnership in the framework of the “Friends of a Democratic Pakistan” to jointly ensure a strong and stable Pakistan. Germany will continue to work with the Pakistani government in this framework.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We believe that Pakistan plays a vital role in the region. A stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan is paramount for peace in South Asia and beyond. In the face of this tragedy, our friendship and support is even more important.
I can assure you: Germany will continue to stand by Pakistan in this challenging time and offer its full assistance.