World Bank says about $1 billion of Pakistan crops lost

SIGULDA, Latvia (BestGrowthStock) – World Bank President Robert Zoellick said on Friday that floods in Pakistan may have destroyed crops worth around $1 billion and that the organization was considering redirecting aid to the country.

Triggered by torrential monsoon downpours, the floods have swamped Pakistan’s Indus river basin, killing more than 1,600 people, forcing two million from their homes and disrupting the lives of about 14 million people.

“An early assessment is that the damages are more than in the earthquake in 2005,” he told a news conference during a visit to Latvia. “The rough estimate is that there is a billion dollars of losses of crops. All of us will have to pitch in to help.”

Aid agencies said on Friday that water-borne disease outbreaks posed new risks to victims, with already around 36,000 suspected cases of potentially fatal acute watery diarrhea reported so far.

Zoellick said he had word that a reconstruction needs assessment team had landed in Pakistan on Friday with representatives from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. The World Bank was also considering redirecting aid.

“We’ve already started to think about reprogramming some of our funding, and based on the government request we are looking to see if we might reprogram about 900 million dollars,” Zoellick said after meeting the prime minister of Latvia.

Wheat, cotton and sugar crops have all suffered damage in a country where agriculture is a mainstay of the economy.

The International Monetary Fund has warned of major economic harm and Pakistan’s finance ministry said the country would miss this year’s 4.5 percent gross domestic product growth target although it was not clear by how much.

(Reporting by Aija Braslina via Stockholm newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

World Bank says about $1 billion of Pakistan crops lost