Pakistan floods expand, rescuers struggle

2011-09-14 15:27
Islamabad - Pakistani troops and civilian rescue workers were moving tens of thousands of people stranded in flooded areas of southern Pakistan.

The floods triggered by two weeks of heavy monsoon have affected more than 5.3 million people and killed 226, the National Disaster Management Authority said.

President Asif Ali Zardari appealed to the nation to hold special collective Islamic prayers on Wednesday for the end of the disaster.

The military said it had deployed 1 000 soldiers for rescue work in Sindh province and had moved 30 000 stranded flood victims to relief camps.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday made an appeal to the United Nations for emergency aid.

The disaster agency said 1.8 million hectares of land and about 1.2 million houses were inundated.

Rains also crippled the Sindh province capital Karachi. Parts of the city were under more than a metre of water and many businesses were closed in the country's commercial hub.

The latest disaster follows last year's record flooding that displaced some 18 million people and killed more than 2 000.

International relief organisation Oxfam called on donor nations "to dig deep into their pockets and respond to the urgent basic needs of the women, men and children affected once again by a natural disaster.

"The crisis is multiplying each passing day. The international community needs to expedite its response to ensure that millions affected get the help they need as soon as possible," Neva Khan, Oxfam country director, said.

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