A politician in Pakistan has claimed that corruption by government officials is hampering humanitarian aid from reaching flood survivors in the country.

Since mid-June, millions of people in Pakistan have been affected by what the climate minister called a “serious climate catastrophe”.

More than 1,100 people have died so far in flash floods triggered by relentless rains. While the record monsoon downpour has affected all four provinces of the country, Sindh has been the worst-hit, with the highest death toll and most number of people displaced.

Claim

In an interview to BBC News this week, Shandana Gulzar Khan, who was formerly a member of the National Assembly and is a senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said that one of the problems in Pakistan was accountability when it came to distributing disaster aid.

“There is no way of knowing where the [aid] money is coming from and where the money is going,” she asserted.

Later in the interview she claimed that humanitarian aid was not getting to the areas which needed it.

“One of the most damaged provinces [due to floods] in terms of population is Sindh… Unfortunately, what we see on social media is not promising. Aid is getting lost, aid is not getting distributed. Aid is being taken to the houses of certain government functionaries,” she alleged on BBC News.

Excerpts of the interview have been widely shared and have garnered tens of thousands of views on social media.

Fact

Geo Fact-Check reached out to international organisations, working in the flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan. All those the team spoke to deny they have received any information of corruption impeding relief work in the Sindh province or other parts of the country till now.

Mahvash Ali, the national information officer at the United Nations Information Center, told Geo Fact-Check that she had seen Khan’s statement in the media and hasn’t yet received any complaint of the kind the politician refers to.

“There is no official complaint that I am aware of,” Ali said. “We have asked around to bring to our attention any such reports, but there is nothing official on this we can comment on.”

Ali added that the United Nations organisations were working in the field with the governments, the National Disaster Management Authority, Provincial Disaster Management Authorities and non-government organisations.

Separately, a communication officer at another United Nations organisation involved in distributing relief, also told Geo Fact-Check on the condition of anonymity that the organisation has not come by any such information of corruption as yet in Sindh or otherwise. “We have not received any such report,” the officer added.

Shariq Lashari, the communication lead at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, also confirmed the same.

Geo Fact-Check further reached out to Shandana Gulzar Khan to provide any documentary evidence she may have to back up her claim, but received no response.

On Twitter, Khan has posted screenshots of articles which allege corruption by politicians from rival political parties, dated 2013, 2018 and 2019. However, none of these articles refers to the ongoing relief work in the country.

While in the past there have been reports of mismanagement and corruption in disaster aid, no such reports have emerged as yet to support the politician’s accusation regarding current relief work.

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