The World Bank has announced a grant of $900 million for relief and reconstruction work following the floods in Pakistan that have cost the nation around Rs.250 billion, a media report said on Friday.
Pakistan is grappling with its worst ever floods that have left over 1,600 people dead and affected over 14 million people. A report in the Dawn put the total economic loss due to floods at around Rs.250 billion.
The World Bank's Pakistan Director Rachid Benmessaoud met with Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Thursday and announced a grant of $900 million for relief and reconstruction.
The major losses have been in the agricultural and livestock sectors and floods have destroyed crops of cotton, rice, sugarcane and tobacco worth billions of rupees, Nazar Mohammad Gondal, minister for food and agriculture, said on Thursday.
Javed Saleem, an official of the Crops Protection Association (CPA), and Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of the Pakistan Agricultural Farms Association (PAFA), said over 17 million acres of agricultural land had been submerged and ripe crops of rice, cotton and sugarcane were destroyed.
Over 100,000 cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, horses, camels and donkeys have died and 3,000 fish farms and 2,000 poultry farms destroyed across the country, they said.
In Punjab province, about one million acres of cotton growing area was affected and crops worth Rs.86 billion were destroyed. Sindh province has lost standing crops worth Rs.95 billion over an area of 100,000 acres, while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, over 325,000 acres were submerged and crops worth Rs.30 billion were destroyed.
Officials said over one million tonnes of wheat kept in warehouses had been swept away in the floods, which has led to an increase in food prices by 25 to 50 percent.
This has created a difficult situation for people, as consumption of fruits and vegetables usually increases during Ramadan.
"We are importing potatoes and tomatoes from India to meet the demand," Safdar Siddique, president of the Islamabad Fruit and Vegetable Market, said.