Pakistan warns of new floods as UN says 800,000 cut off
Hyderabad, Pakistan (AFP) Aug 25, 2010
Pakistan battled Wednesday to save areas threatened by more devastating flood waters as the United Nations warned that 800,000 people in desperate need of aid had been cut off by the deluge.
The UN launched an urgent appeal Tuesday for more helicopters to deliver aid to those people reachable only by air, after floods triggered by a torrent of monsoon rains washed away bridges and vital access roads.
"As monsoon floods continue to displace millions in southern Pakistan, an estimated 800,000 people in need across the country are only accessible by air," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
Pakistan's worst humanitarian catastrophe has affected more than 17 million people, while officials warn that millions are at risk from disease and food shortages.
Around 1,500 people have been confirmed dead by Pakistani authorities, but UN officials have suggested the death toll could prove higher.
"These unprecedented floods pose unprecedented logistical challenges, and this requires an extraordinary effort by the international community," said John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Global pledges have topped 700 million dollars, but Pakistani and international relief officials have raised concerns about the slow pace of aid and Islamabad has warned that total losses could reach 43 billion dollars.
Some 4.5 million people remain in urgent need of shelter, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday.
Another two million left homeless by the floods were due to have received shelter materials such as tents and plastic sheets within the next couple of days, the IOM said.
Officials warned yet more Pakistanis could be affected in the fertile southern plains of Sindh province, which face the risk of further flooding in the next few days as the major Indus river threatens to burst its banks.
"Hyderabad and large surrounding districts are still facing a threat," Sindh's irrigation minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo told AFP.
"We are working on a war footing. This is an extraordinary flood and we are at war with the extraordinary floods."
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from flood-threatened areas close to Hyderabad, on the lower reaches of the Indus, where more than 40 nearby villages have been swept away.
The minister said Tuesday that thousands of irrigation officials had been sent to build up river barriers at high-risk spots, but a full moon this week would speed up water flows and increase the risk of floods.
Barkaat Rizvi, spokesman for the Hyderabad district administration, told AFP that residents were still leaving vulnerable areas, adding: "Danger is still there."
In Kotri, a western suburb of Hyderabad, the river had swelled from its normal width of 200 to 300 metres (yards) to almost 3.5 kilometres (two miles), local army spokesman Asad Ahmad Jalili told AFP.
Water lapped at a road in Jamshoro district that is normally six or seven kilometres from the river, an AFP correspondent witnessed.
Three hundred miles (480 kilometres) further north, authorities were also battling to save the city of Shahdadkot from surging waters after most of its 100,000 residents had been moved to safety.
Authorities safely evacuated people from the nearby flooded town of Qubo Saeed Khan and there were no reports of any casualties, an official told AFP on Wendesday.
Administrative official Yaseen Shar said 90 percent of the town had been evacuated, but 3,000 people were still stranded.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Tuesday that more than 3.5 million children were at risk from disease.
"As human misery continues to mount, we are seriously concerned about the spread of epidemic diseases," he said.
Millions who have seen their homes wiped out in the month since the disaster first struck are surviving on aid handouts.
Marcus Prior of the World Food Programme (WFP) said at least 40 extra heavy-lift helicopters were needed "to reach the huge numbers of increasingly desperate people with life-saving relief", according to the OCHA statement.
The WFP's Pakistan chief, Wolfgang Herbinger, said that at least 30 airlifts by large transport aircraft would be needed over the next two months to ensure specialist foods such as high-energy biscuits reached flood victims.
Prior said the floods had now affected an estimated 17.2 million people, of whom at least eight million are believed to need life-saving humanitarian assistance.
Pakistan officials are in talks with the International Monetary Fund in Washington amid reports Islamabad is asking the fund to ease the terms of a loan worth nearly 11 billion dollars.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest
Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains, France (AFP) Aug 25, 2010
French authorities set about draining a lake trapped beneath a glacier in the Mont Blanc Alpine range on Wednesday to protect thousands of people in the valley below from a flood. Workers toiled at an altitude of 3,200 metres (10,500 feet), pouring hot water on the ice to make a hole through which they will push a pump and start tapping off the water that has accumulated below one of the gla ... read more
Chile seeks advice from NASA on feeding trapped miners|
Chilean miners' rescue operation to last months
New Orleans police still pay for Katrina sins 5 years on
UN to meet on Pakistan aid, 4.6 million without shelter
Amazon says new Kindle a best seller
Nokia and Intel launch joint research lab
Smartphones to make up over half of Asian sales by 2015
Scientist: World's helium being squandered
Japan high-tech toilet makers flush with success
EU warns Iceland, Faroes over 'mackerel war'
WHOI Scientists Map And Confirm Origin Of Large, Underwater Hydrocarbon Plume In Gulf
Limiting Ocean Acidification Under Global Change
Is The Ice In The Arctic Ocean Getting Thinner And Thinner
Resolving The Paradox Of The Antarctic Sea Ice
Indonesian Ice Field May Be Gone In A Matter Of Years
Puzzle of Antarctic ice solved?
Pakistan cotton crop failure hands opportunity to India
Food prices soar in Russia after drought
Flour appeared on menus 10,000 years ago
Rising prices fuel scramble for PotashCorp
Surfing For Earthquakes
Pakistan warns of new floods as UN says 800,000 cut off
Colombia volcano placed on red alert
Frank becomes a hurricane in Pacific, veers away from Mexico
S.Africa defends Chinese expansion in Africa
S.Africa's Zuma in China for talks on growing ties
Somali peacekeepers may boost troops
South Africa's Zuma visits key partner China to boost ties
The Mother Of All Humans
Giant Chinese 'Michelin baby' startles doctors: reports
Mother Of All Humans Lived 200,000 Years Ago
Humans Trump Nature On Texas River
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|