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'Pak must show it can use aid properly'

Pakistan will have to demonstrate it can spend relief funds transparently and well if it wants more help in rebuilding after its massive floods, the US aid chief said, as the United Nations appealed urgently for more helicopters to ferry aid to around 800,000 stranded people.

world Updated: Aug 26, 2010 01:46 IST

Pakistan will have to demonstrate it can spend relief funds transparently and well if it wants more help in rebuilding after its massive floods, the US aid chief said, as the United Nations appealed urgently for more helicopters to ferry aid to around 800,000 stranded people.

America has been the most generous contributor to the flood aid, rushing in emergency assistance to support a vital ally in the war against Al Qaeda and Taliban. But rebuilding homes, roads, livelihoods and vital infrastructure will cost billions of dollars, and there are questions over who will pay.

The Pakistan government says about $800 million in emergency aid has been committed or pledged so far. But there are concerns internationally about how the money will be spent by the government, which has a reputation for inefficiency and corruption.

“We are going to work at it, but these are tough economic times around the world and it will require a demonstration of real transparency and accountability and that resources spent in Pakistan get results,” said Rajiv Shah, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, in an interview, onTuesday.

Before the disaster, the US had pledged to spend $7.5 billion over the next five years for projects including improving schools and hospitals, building dams and helping the country generate electricity. Shah said much of that package would now be spent on flood rebuilding. Teams are still assessing the damage to figure out the exact costs. “That is absolutely what is required in order to meet the needs of the Pakistani people,” Shah said.