Flood woes continue in Pakistan
Islamabad - Floods and rains continued on Wednesday to cause havoc in Pakistan, submerging villages and killing people, as the United Nations was set to launch an appeal for international aid.
The floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have devastated large areas of the country and killed more than 1 600 people.
The UN says that 14 million people are directly or indirectly affected by the floods, the worst in Pakistan's history.
Among them are 6 million children, while 1.8 million people are homeless.
More evacuations are taking place as the flood waters move southward in the Indus River. Dozens more villages have been submerged over the last 24 hours in the central province of Punjab and Sindh province in the south, media reports said.
Hundreds of people were stranded in Ari and Bala Nari villages in the south-western province of Balochistan after the Nari River burst its banks.
Six people have died in floods over the last 24 hours, Hassan Baloch, the head of the provincial Disaster Management Authority, said on the phone.
Thirty-two people died when lightning struck two villages in the Diamer district of northern Pakistan. Dozens of people were also injured, said Mohammad Ajmal, a local police official.
The lightning also disrupted communications.
Slow govt response
The UN said that around 6 million people needed immediate assistance. The world body was expected to launch an appeal for "hundreds of millions of dollars" in aid on Wednesday.
"We need these funds to provide shelter, food, safe drinking water and medicines to millions of flood victims," said Fawad Hussain, an official at the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Countries have pledged millions of dollars in aid, but the assistance is arriving slowly. Public anger is growing in Pakistan over the government's slow response to the disaster.
To send a donation to flood victims, try contacting Gift of the Givers.