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Food threat looms for Pakistan child flood victims: UN

100,000 more displaced by lake burst in Pakistan: UN
Karachi (AFP) Sept 21, 2010 - Some 100,000 more people have been displaced after a lake burst in southern Pakistan where massive floods have already affected millions of people, a UN spokesman said Tuesday, The Manchar lake in southern Sindh province overflowed on Friday, forcing people living in the area to seek refuge elsewhere, UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano told AFP. "More than a hundred thousand (have) been displaced. Not only houses, but boats were also found in pieces (in the affected areas, and) crops are completely washed away," Giuliano said. Jam Saifullah Dharejo, the provincial irrigation minister said: "The burst in the lake has affected a large population in Jamshoro district, but we cannot estimate the exact number of people affected, they are in thousands."

"Sindh continues to host the largest number of flood-displaced people, in addition to experiencing the worst of the current flooding," a UN statement said separately. The UN estimates that there are currently 1.2 million people in 6,300 camps and settlements across Pakistan with more than 80 percent of them in Sindh. Some 21 million people have been affected by floods that have ravaged Pakistan, according to UN figures, including 12 million who need emergency food aid. Torrential rain began falling in northern Pakistan in late July causing floods that swept south across the country, wiping out villages and farmland. The official death toll remains at just over 1,700 people. World powers made fresh aid pledges for Pakistan's flood disaster on Sunday, after a two-billion-dollar UN appeal.
by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Sept 21, 2010
UN aid agencies warned on Tuesday that flood stricken areas of Pakistan faced a looming threat of child malnutrition although the overall health situation was broadly under control for now.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said over 10 million children had been affected by the flooding, including 2.8 million under five-year-olds.

"The emergency is far from over: large numbers of women and children have not been reached with the assistance they urgently need," said UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado.

"The risk of malnutrition looms large with the very young extremely vulnerable," she told journalists.

Mercado said the stuttering aid effort needed to be sustained and scaled up urgently to reach more children especially with food.

"If we do not, conditions for those affected will deteriorate. This could happen very rapidly and would result in a much worse condition than we have on our hands today," she said.

The World Food Programme said it had received about one sixth of the 600 million dollars (460 million euros) needed to ensure adequate supplies to avoid a deeper crisis.

"One of our biggest focuses right now is our concerns about nutrition for young children," said WFP spokeswoman Emilia Casella.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs repeated a call for donors to stump up more cash for the 2.01 billion dollar aid appeal, of which it has received less than one quarter, with shortages across the board in health, sanitation and shelter.

"We need more donors to respond to this in a big way and existing donors to dig deeper still," said Mercado.

About 5.6 million flood victims have been treated for diarrhoea, respiratory ailments, malaria and skin diseases, the World Health Organisation said.

Asked if the health situation was out of control following warnings of the threat of severe diarrhoeal diseases, WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said: "At the moment we're not seeing that that's the case."

Diarrhoea was about 30 percent up over the same season last year in Pakistan, he added, while cases of malaria and skin diseases were rising.

"All the conditions are there for a very worrying situation in terms of health but there has also been, as best as possible, a very robust response."

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Dehradun, India (AFP) Sept 20, 2010
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