Will the Emergency Response Fund (ERF) in Pakistan be a vital tool for channelling international assistance to the emergency response caused by severe flooding?
Torrential rain in several areas of Pakistan has caused severe flooding estimated to affect over 3 million people. There is no doubt that the country is experiencing a humanitarian emergency and assistance is urgently required to address the needs of the affected population.
The government of Pakistan is leading the emergency response activities but has come under some severe criticism. International funding is already arriving to complement the country’s domestic response. Both Australia and China have already contributed several millions to the relief effort with Australia providing a proportion of its money through the Emergency Response Fund for Pakistan.
Will this fund, which was established by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in 2009, witness an influx of financial contributions over the coming weeks as was the case in Haiti. In that case what was remarkable was not so much that traditional donors used it as a rapid channel for disbursing their emergency donors but rather that it has provided donors outside of the usual suspects and those without a substantial humanitarian decision-making structure, to give money quickly and one hopes, effectively.
“The Pakistan Emergency Response Fund (ERF), which currently contains US $8 million, has been
activated as one of the main funding mechanisms to support assistance activities. Initial assessments indicate that additional funds will be required for the ERF, as well as the New York-based Central Emergency Response Fund.” (OCHA Pakistan, Situation Report No. 3: Floods in Pakistan – 1 August 2010)