World Bank agrees to loan Pakistan $900m

Loan provided to help Pakistan recover from devastating floods that have left 2,000 dead.

The World Bank has agreed to loan $900m in aid to Pakistan to help it recover from its worst ever flooding. The devastating floods have affected up to 20 million people and left some 2,000 dead, say officials.

The funds will come through the the reprogramming of planned projects and the reallocation of money, a World Bank spokesman said. "We are reprioritising to make the funds immediately available," he told Reuters news agency.

The bank estimated the economic cost of the flood to be "huge", with housing, roads, irrigation and agriculture among the hardest-hit sectors in the country.

"Crop loss is estimated at one billion dollars. However, the full impact on soil erosion and agriculture can only be assessed when the water recedes, by mid-September," said the statement.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, said it would take at least five years for the country to recover, and put the reconstruction bill at "more than $10 to $15bn". He warned that a failure to provide sufficient relief could lead to an increase in extremism and instability across the region.