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Special meeting of UN to be held tomorrow on Pakistan

An emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the floods crisis in Pakistan will take place tomorrow, Thursday, 19 August 2010 in New York.

Minister Peter Power will address the General Assembly on behalf of the Irish Government and will take the opportunity to update other UN member states of Ireland’s response to this humanitarian emergency. In addition, the meeting will offer an opportunity for the world community to ensure the most coordinated response possible to the ongoing disaster.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Power said:

“This is a disaster of enormous proportions. 20 million people have been rendered homeless. A massive global response is required to prevent a secondary humanitarian disaster. The lives of millions of children are at risk.

“This emergency meeting of the general assembly will convey to the world the sheer scale of this disaster and what is required to deal with it.

“I will provide the United Nations with an update on Ireland’s very generous response to this terrible crisis. The people of Ireland have dug deep to assist those caught up in this natural disaster. Despite the difficult economic times, it is a great tribute to Irish people that we still reach out to those in the greatest need.

“The UN meeting will also provide an opportunity for the international community to assess the global response to date and to discuss how we can improve it. The needs are undoubtedly enormous. Twenty million people are now directly affected by the loss of their homes and livelihoods. In the face of this major crisis, the international community must work together to deliver the most effective humanitarian response and ensure that vital life saving assistance is delivered as quickly as possible to those in need”.

Note for Editors:

The meeting has been convened by the President of the UN General Assembly and is expected to adopt a UN Resolution expressing sympathy for those affected by the flooding in Pakistan, to urge donors to do more, and to discuss how best to coordinate relief efforts.

To date, Ireland has provided funding of €810,000 to the humanitarian response to the floods. This assistance has been provided to Concern and Trócaire for their programmes on the ground in Pakistan. In addition, funding of €150,000 is being provided to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for their activities in coordinating the international response. One hundred tents from Ireland’s stock of humanitarian supplies have been delivered also to the International Organisation for Migration in Pakistan.

For further information or to request an interview with Minister Power, please contact Maggie Collins, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs on 01-4082653.