| Updated at: 0625 PST, Monday, September 20, 2010|
UNITED NATIONS: The World Bank and the United States on Sunday urged Pakistan to take steps to reassure donor countries that it is capable of using their flood aid responsibly and transparently and that it can enact reforms.
Massive flooding in Pakistan began in late July and swept through the country, leaving an area almost the size of England under water. The United Nations has said the floods affected more than 20 million people, damaged or destroyed nearly 1.9 million homes and killed 1,700 people.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick told a high-level UN meeting on Pakistan that Islamabad would have to prove its ability to manage foreign aid ahead of an October meeting in Brussels to review a flood damage assessment report the World Bank and Asian Development Bank are preparing.
"To make most effective use of help and even to secure full donor support, the government will need a reconstruction founded on transparency, accountability, flexibility, backed by law," Zoellick said.
"Senior Pakistani officials have told us that this is what they wish to do," he said. "Yet experience from many countries warns that the machinery tends to slide back to business as usual."
He added that the Pakistani government should "continue to take concrete steps by the October meeting, backed by law, so we have an opportunity to build Pakistani ownership, governance and capacity."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed Zoellick, saying that Pakistan must "lead by instituting the reforms that will pave the way to self-sufficiency."
"The international community will support Pakistan's efforts at reform and reconstruction," she said.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi responded by saying that every dollar it receives "will be utilized in the most efficient manner ... and in the most transparent manner."
Under the terms of $11 billion in loans the International Monetary Fund has made to Pakistan in recent years, Islamabad had agreed to implement a number of reforms, such as improving the energy sector, boosting tax revenues and fiscal improvements. But it has been slow to implement those reforms.
The United Nations asked member states on Friday for $2 billion to help Pakistan recover from massive floods that have displaced millions of people, the largest natural disaster appeal in UN history.
Qureshi was also asked by reporters if the amount of aid that Pakistan had received so far was sufficient.
"We need a lot more than what has been pledged," Qureshi said, though he added that Pakistan did not expect other countries to "foot the entire bill."
General Nadeem Ahmed, chairman of National Disaster Management Authority, told the meeting that the country was 80 percent short of the food aid it needs for the 20 million people affected by the floods, 87 percent short on water and sanitation, and 82 percent short on shelter.