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One million displaced need aid in southern Pakistan: UN

by Staff Writers
Sehwan, Pakistan (AFP) Dec 3, 2010
The UN chief of humanitarian affairs said Friday that more than one million displaced people still need emergency aid in southern Pakistan, around four months after catastrophic floods.

Monsoon rains ravaged a fifth of Pakistan in July and August, affecting 21 million people, consuming entire villages, wiping out agricultural land and destroying industries in the country's worst ever natural disaster.

Pakistan's Sindh province in the south was one of the worst-affected areas and large swaths of the territory are still submerged in flood waters.

"Initially more than seven million people were affected by the floods in southern Sindh province and still one million of them need emergency response," Valerie Amos, the UN emergency relief coordinator, told AFP.

On Friday, she visited displaced families living in camps in Sehwan, 230 kilometres (144 miles) northeast of Karachi, where she reiterated warnings that the crisis could drag on well into 2011.

"It could take about six to seven months until the water recedes and homeless people go to their native areas to rebuild their homes and plant their crops," she said.

The United Nations launched a two-billion-dollar appeal in September to help Pakistani flood victims, of which foreign donors have stumped up 49 percent.

"What we have is sufficient for the immediate future but we need to do more. We must work together to help people to get back on their feet as soon as possible," said Amos.

"Most of people have returned to their villages and our effort is to help all of them to go back home.

"People increasingly want to go back. They want to rebuild their homes. They want to plant crops so they can feed to their families next year."

She said the world body was making efforts to avert any future health crisis among the homeless people, warning that the situation remains "very difficult".

"We don't want people, especially children, to be victims of respiratory problems due to the cold as winter has arrived. For this, shelter is extremely important, which we are providing on priority."

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Pakistan's flood aid 'unspent and mismanaged'
Islamabad (AFP) Dec 1, 2010
Mismanagement and misuse of cash are hampering relief efforts for Pakistan's flood victims with nearly 60 million dollars in a prime minister's fund still unspent, officials say. Catastrophic monsoon rains that swept north to south in July and August affected 21 million people, consumed entire villages, wiped out agricultural land and destroyed industries in the country's worst ever natural ... read more

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