OTTAWA — The federal government has more than doubled the amount of donations it will match to help the people of Pakistan recover from disastrous flooding.
Three weeks ago, the government pledged to match up to $3 million donated by Canadians to the Humanitarian Coalition. Last week, International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said he would boost that to $5 million, in the hopes of drumming up more public support.
On Thursday, he increased that to $7.5 million, matching what Canadians had now donated.
Canada has donated another $30 million to aid Pakistan separately from the donor matching funds to the Humanitarian Coalition, a group of 12 major Canadian aid agencies, including Save The Children, Islamic Relief and Oxfam Canada.
"It was just really gratifying to see the extraordinary response from Canadians, I would say particularly Canadians from the Pakistani diaspora and the Muslim community who really stepped up," said the coalition's director, Richard Morgan.
Severe monsoon rains this summer left one-third of Pakistan underwater, ruining grain and killing cattle. Morgan said 21 million people are in need of help, including 9 million in immediate need.
"When you have that many millions of displaced people congregating in new spaces, the most basic needs (are) shelter, food, water and immediate, basic health care," Morgan said.
The funding has gone to things like tents and tarps, kitchen sets, fuel, drinking water and latrines. It has helped set up schools for children to learn and deal with trauma, he said.
In areas with functioning markets, the groups have given stipends to people to buy what they need, which Morgan says helps get the local economy back on its feet.
"It helps rebuilds community resilience," he said.
The Humanitarian Coalition is still accepting donations, but those won't be matched by Ottawa.
Pakistan also experienced massive floods in 2010, and the former Harper government pledged $71.8 million for relief efforts, including $46.8 million from donations Ottawa matched.
Morgan and Sajjan say Canadian aid from that crisis helped create the early-warning system that prevented deaths this year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2022.
Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press