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UNESCO Director General Visits Pakistan Flood Zone Area

Islamabad: 31 Aug 2010: In response to the devastating floods in Pakistan Director-General of UNESCO Ms. Irina Bokova visited Pakistan on 31st August 2010, to show solidarity and friendship with the victims of the flood affected areas of Pakistan.

Ms. Bokova flew from Paris to Islamabad, and travelled to the city of Nowshera in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province; one of the most severely flood-affected districts. She also visited the Kandar camp for flood refugees, where she met with the men, women and children of displaced communities living in camps. She offered her condolences to the poor families who had lost their loved ones during the tragic consequences of devastating floods of July 2010. “The livelihoods are abandoned; the state of livelihood in these camps speak of the magnitude of the tragedy these poor people had to go through, and we need to stand by them in this tough time”, Ms. Bokova shared her thoughts after returning from the camp to Islamabad.

During the day, Ms. Irina Bokova was invited for the meeting with Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani, where she also met the Minister of Education Mr. Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali, the Minister for Culture Pir Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani and other national authorities. Ms bokova discussed the possibilities to strengthen UNESCO’s support in Pakistan, with its expertise in the areas of Education, Science, Culture & Communication and information for the short, medium and long term, specially during the recovery phases of flood disaster.

President of Pakistan Mr. Asif Ali Zardari also gracefully showed his interest to meet the Director General UNESCO, which due to time constraints wasn’t scheduled during this visit.

In the evening of Tuesday 31 August, Irina Bokova talked to the press in a joint press briefing with UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran, and Jean Maurice Ripert, the Special Envoy to Pakistan of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon. She presented action undertaken by UNESCO to help Pakistan recover from the disastrous floods, which have affected an estimated 20 million people. “UNESCO stands firmly by the people of Pakistan in this time of need and the Organization will do everything in its power and its fields of expertise to support the relief effort underway for the millions of people who have suffered so much in these calamitous floods,” said Irina Bokova while talking to the media in Pakistan.

“We have dispatched experts to help improve Pakistan’s capacity to manage floods and related geo-hazards, and reinforced our office in Islamabad. This visit and the discussions with Pakistan’s decision-makers will further clarify the needs and the best way for UNESCO to respond.” she shared prior to her departure on next morning from Islamabad.

Links:
 UNESCO News Release
 DGs speech in the Press Conference
 DGs Visit to Pakistan- Picture Gallery
 Press Clippings - 1, 2, 3
 Irina Bokova visits Pakistan and makes a call for increased   assistance
 Irina Bokova visits flood zones in Pakistan
 UNESCO mobilizes to support Pakistan flood victims