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UN says Pakistan still in emergency after floods

by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) Jan 27, 2011
The United Nations Thursday said Pakistan is still in emergency mode six months after monsoon flooding ravaged the country and that $1 billion was still needed to help the 20 million people affected.

The UN launched a two billion-dollar flood relief appeal in September but still requires nearly half that amount, in particular to help farmers return to work after waters smothered fields and devastated harvests.

"The emergency in Pakistan is not over and a lot of work still needs to be done," Rauf Engin Soysal, the UN's special envoy for assistance to Pakistan, told a press conference in Islamabad.

"The humanitarian community in in close cooperation with the federal and provincial and district authorities in continuing its tireless efforts to help people in need in Pakistan," he added.

So far 56.3 percent, or 1.1 billion dollars, of the appeal fund has been met, but only 39 percent of essential early recovery projects are funded, Soysal said.

"More than half of the flood response plan is now covered, but we are hoping to raise the remaining one billion dollars which is urgently needed," Soysal said.

Catastrophic monsoon rains that swept through the country in July and August affected 20 million people, destroyed 1.7 million homes and damaged 5.4 million acres of arable land.

The UN said that about seven million people are still living on monthly food rations.

Reviving agriculture, providing shelter and education facilities and finding employment opportunities for flood victims continue to present difficult challenges, it said.

"We are helping farmers in recovering their land by providing them with seeds, fertilisers and tools to accelerate the rehabilitation process," Soysal said, adding that food aid will continue to be provided while there is a need. mmg/ct/apj

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Australia flags taxpayer levy for floods
Sydney (AFP) Jan 21, 2011
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Friday raised the prospect of a one-off tax to pay for rebuilding after epic floods, as rising waters prompted more evacuations in the southeast. Crops, roads and railway lines were washed away and thousands of homes destroyed by vast floods that swamped Queensland state this month in what the government has said could be the nation's most costly natur ... read more

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