Saturday, September 11, 2010

IMF demands blood from flood-ravaged Pakistan

by Sampath Perera,, Sep 10, 2010

Callously exploiting the humanitarian disaster caused by six weeks of flooding, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is spurning Pakistan’s pleas for the release of funds under a 2008 loan agreement until Islamabad implements wrenching policy changes—changes that will further squeeze the incomes of the country’s impoverished toilers.

Earlier this summer Pakistan was due to receive a $1.3 billion tranche from an IMF loan of $11.3 billion. But the IMF delayed release of the funds after Islamabad failed to meet various IMF performance targets.

Since then, more than 20 million people and 79 of Pakistan’s 124 administrative districts have been affected by the Indus Valley floods.

The current government death toll of around 1,700 is low in comparison with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and last January’s Haitian earthquake. But millions of hungry, homeless people remain at risk from disease and in many other respects the catastrophe in Pakistan dwarfs these tragedies.

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