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George Soros to Boost Civil Society Response in Flood Affected Areas of Pakistan

Press Release

August 17, 2010
Absar Alam
Amy Weil

NEW YORK— In response to unprecedented devastation and human suffering caused by the flooding in Pakistan, the Open Society Foundations today announced it would give an additional $5 million to its foundation there to respond to the humanitarian crisis.

“We need everyone to pitch in to the extent they can,” said Absar Alam, country head of the Open Society Foundation in Pakistan – FOSI-Pakistan. “While the government and people of Pakistan are struggling to organize and manage relief efforts, the disaster is much bigger than what they alone can handle.”

In the immediate future, the $5 million will support emergency provisions like food, clean water, tents and shelter, medicine and medical supplies to people in flood-hit areas. The foundation also hopes to support reconstruction projects like restoring roads and bridges, repairing the electricity infrastructure, and rebuilding homes.

George Soros, chairman of the Open Society Foundations, earlier this month gave an initial relief gift of $50,000 to BRAC Pakistan, an anti-poverty group, to provide emergency relief services to people in the flooded regions. Given the unrelenting severity of the disaster, Mr. Soros, on the request of Pakistan office, decided to follow up with additional support of $5 million.

Since 2004, the Open Society Foundations have spent several million dollars to bolster civil society in Pakistan by supporting education, media, and the reconstruction campaign after the 2005 earthquake. A call for proposals for civil society organizations will be launched by the Open Society Foundation in Pakistan – FOSI-Pakistan.

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Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.

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