UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations appeared to have met its target of $460 million in immediate aid for flood-stricken Pakistan on Thursday after the US and other nations significantly upped their pledges.
The rush of promised help came after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressing a hastily called meeting of the General Assembly, urged governments and people to be even more generous than they were in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and this year's Haiti earthquake, because the floods were a bigger "global disaster" with the Pakistan government now saying more than 20 million people need shelter, food and clean water.
"This disaster is like few the world has ever seen," Ban told the meeting. "It requires a response to match. Pakistan needs a flood of support."
Before the meeting, donors had given half the sum the UN appealed for to provide food, shelter and clean water to up to 8 million flood victims over the next three months, Ban said, but insisted all the money was needed now — and much more will be needed later.
After listening to speeches by high-level representatives of some 20 countries, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he was assured that the $460 million goal "is going to be easily met," including "$100 million plus" from Saudi Arabia.