No relief for desperate Pakistan

2010-08-11 14:11
Sukkur - Pakistan issued fresh flood warnings on Wednesday, putting parts of Punjab and Sindh on alert and calling on foreign donors to step up to contain the country's worst humanitarian disaster.

The United Nations was to launch an international appeal in New York, calling for hundreds of millions of dollars to provide urgent assistance to six million people it says now depend on aid for survival.

Pakistan's government has admitted to being unable to cope with the scale of the crisis and an outpouring of rage from survivors and the political opposition is compounding pressure on President Asif Ali Zardari.

Hard line Islamic charities have plugged some of the vacuum, leading to warnings within the United States about rising extremism in a country on the frontline of the US-led war on al-Qaeda and key to the conflict in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani Taliban, which has been fighting the military in the tribal belt and last year in the cut-off north-western Swat valley, has called on the government to turn down all foreign aid for the victims.

More rains expected

The meteorological service warned of floods in Hyderabad district, which could spread devastation further south in Sindh province, and issued a "significant" flood forecast for Kalabagh and Chashma in Punjab.

Local governments in both provinces, considered the breadbasket of Pakistan, also issued warnings about more flooding in the days ahead, although the chief minister in Sindh acknowledged that the immediate danger had passed.

Punjab officials said more than 90% of the town of Kot Addu had emptied and that flooding had cut electricity and gas production, shutting down thousands of factories.

The chief minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, told a small group of reporters that up to 3.5 million people could be affected in the province, although loss of life had been negligible.

'We need substantial aid, not peanuts'

"Up to 40km of Indus Highway is inundated and has been closed. The initial rough estimates show that losses of 35 billion rupees ($411m), excluding crops, have been suffered by Sindh," he said.

"I think the actual losses will be much higher. We feel that without substantial foreign assistance it will be difficult for Sindh and rest of the country to redevelop and rehabilitate its people."

"What we need is substantial foreign aid and not peanuts. The aid being pledged so far is peanuts and not enough to meet the enormous challenge ahead.

"The immediate danger is almost over, but we are concerned about the next possible big wave of flooding as predicted by the Met department.

"If it is progressive flow it should be fine, but if it comes at once then it will be a trouble."

Pakistan says 14 million people are facing direct or indirect harm, while the UN has warned that children are among the most vulnerable victims, with diarrhoea the biggest health threat and measles a serious concern.

Taliban, US offer $20m in aid

But the Pakistani Taliban has condemned the aid effort and offered to cough up $20m on its own, without any indication it could pay.

"We condemn American and other foreign aid and believe that it will lead to subjugation. Our jihad against America will continue," spokesperson Azam Tariq told AFP by telephone.

The US announced on Tuesday it would increase its flood aid by another $20m to $55m. The UN believes 1 600 people have died in the floods while Pakistan has confirmed 1 243 deaths.

At the Pakistani military base of Ghazni, US Major Mark Geeting said US military helicopter crews had evacuated 2 305 people so far and supplied relief goods including water, rice, flour and meal packages.

But critics say the official relief effort has been woefully slow.

Anthony Cordesman, who has advised the Obama administration on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the floods represent "a major opportunity" for Islamist groups to win further influence among people denied government services.

"If we have to deal with a radicalised Pakistan, that raises the threat that is posed by terrorism by several orders of magnitude," said Cordesman, an expert from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
 

Read more on:    pakistan  |  asia floods
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too much...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.