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Update: USAID Says Figures On Flood Aid In Pakistan Misinterpreted

Oct 23, 2012
Originally published on October 23, 2012 6:11 pm

Update at 6 p.m. ET:

Our original headline on this post was "U.S. Pledges Exceed Pakistan's Spending On Its Own Flood Relief." As we reported, the Christian Science Monitor has looked into the details of a Congressional Research Service report and concluded that U.S. aid to Pakistan for flood relief exceeded that country's own spending.

But Ben Edwards, a spokesman at the U.S. Agency for International Development, tells us in an email that:

"The Christian Science Monitor incorrectly interpreted the data in the CRS report. The government of Pakistan has pledged $91 million specifically for flood relief. USAID has pledged $134.6 million for humanitarian assistance to Pakistan, but only a fraction of that money is for flood relief. So, the Christian Science Monitor compares apples and oranges, which creates an inaccurate portrayal of our assistance. I don't have the exact figure for flood relief, but it's more like $100,000."

Our original post, which was built on the Monitor's report:

The Christian Science Monitor has picked up on this little-noticed detail in a recent report from the Congressional Research Service:

"For the third consecutive year, Pakistan is experiencing major seasonal flooding that, while not as severe as that of 2010 and 2011, has resulted in more than 430 deaths and has negatively affected nearly 4.8 million people with deteriorated living conditions. The Islamabad government has pledged $91 million toward relief and is coordinating response efforts. As of end September, 2012, the State Department and USAID humanitarian assistance totaled $134.6 million. U.S. flood-relief provided to Pakistan in FY2010 and FY2011 totaled more than $600 million in funds and in-kind aid and services."

We added the bold to underscore the conclusion that the U.S. figure exceeds Pakistan's spending by 48 percent.

But as the Monitor writes:

"Instead of helping repair U.S.-Pakistan relations, the flood aid looks more likely to harden the existing pattern in which Americans tire of financially supporting a country where elites are barely taxed and the majority of citizens dislike the U.S. Pakistan, meanwhile, points out that U.S. pledges are often much greater than the aid actually delivered — and what aid does come is spent in a self-serving manner."

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