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Flood-hit Pak may get more money from US

With Pakistan seeking more international aid following the devastating floods, the Obama Administration and key Congressional leaders are now considering allocating more money under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill that allocated USD 7.5 billion to Islamabad.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2010 13:09 IST

With Pakistan seeking more international aid following the devastating floods, the Obama Administration and key Congressional leaders are now considering allocating more money under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill that allocated USD 7.5 billion to Islamabad.

Much lies at the hands of powerful Senator John Kerry –- Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a key architect of the bill, who recently returned from Pakistan after having a first hand experience of the flood situation, the worst in 80 years.

"We have to really see what the needs are. The Kerry-Lugar-Berman money will overwhelmingly be used for recovery and reconstruction as opposed to the immediate relief issues. "So as the scope and nature of the recovery and reconstruction needs are known, we have a better sense of how we can redirect some of that money," Deputy Special Representative for Af-Pak Dan Feldman said.

The official, who accompanied Kerry on his trip to Afghanistan last week, said that the US is still assessing on the Kerry-Lugar-Berman process that provides USD 7.5 billion to Pakistan in five years. "What we've tried to do is identify funding that was already going to be used that can just be redirected as quickly as possible.

"So already, livelihoods programs, clinics, immunisation programs, rebuilding schools, that was already on the books, much of it in these areas already which we can just try to facilitate as quickly as possible," Feldman said. The process is ongoing, and obviously, US doesn't want to detract from the core mission of Kerry-Lugar-Berman, which was looking at these five or six key sectors on infrastructure, agriculture, water, health, education, along with the right balance of kind of the high-impact, high-visibility projects, the official said. "So that assessment will continue to go on as we see what evolves on the ground," Feldman added.