UN appeals for Pakistan flood aid

2010-08-10 20:07
Pakistani flood survivors jostle to get relief supplies provided by Pakistan army in Jaffarabad. (Fida Hussain, AP)

Pakistani flood survivors jostle to get relief supplies provided by Pakistan army in Jaffarabad. (Fida Hussain, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sukkur - The United Nations is launching an appeal to help 13.8 million people hit by one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters after floods paralysed parts of Pakistan and fanned fears of disease.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the disaster had eclipsed the scale of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti put together.

About 1.5 million people have been evacuated in the south and 1.5 million hectares of valuable farmland destroyed in central Punjab province while the worst hit has been the northwest, already struggling with Taliban violence.

"We will soon issue an (...) appeal for several hundred million dollars to respond to immediate needs," UN chief Ban Ki-moon announced, stressing that medium- and long-term assistance "will be a major and protracted task".

UN special envoy Jean-Maurice Ripert said hundreds of millions of dollars would be needed to address the urgent humanitarian needs and billions for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure and livelihoods.

Swat valley

Parts of the north-western Swat valley, where Pakistan fought a major campaign to flush out Taliban insurgents last year, were still cut off on Tuesday by road as were parts of the country's breadbasket in Punjab and Sindh.

"This is a major disaster of enormous magnitude," said UN emergency relief co-ordinator John Holmes, who is to launch the appeal in New York on Wednesday for what is likely to be one of the biggest UN relief efforts in history.

UN officials were at pains to stress that aid would focus on six million people who need direct humanitarian assistance in order to survive.

Spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said the figure of 14 million was a broader measure given by Pakistani authorities that included the direct and indirect impact, extending from the homeless to longer term damage such as crop losses.

The UN has warned that children are among the most vulnerable with diarrhoea the biggest health threat and measles a serious concern.

The world body believes 1 600 people have died in Pakistan's floods but the Pakistani government has confirmed 1 243 deaths. Both numbers are dwarfed by the 220 000 killed in the December 2004 tsunami in Asia.

Mega disaster

International aid agency Oxfam said the floods were a "mega disaster" that required the world to mount a "mega response".

Weather cleared on Tuesday, allowing Pakistani, US and Afghan helicopters to help distribute relief items and rescue people stranded in the northwest, said one military official.

"If we have a second wave, mortality will climb. Life-saving health assistance is a priority to ensure that we do not have a second wave of mortality," said Martin Mogwanja, the UN co-ordinator in Pakistan.

In the south, there are warnings in towns and cities for people to remain on alert, but water levels were beginning to drop at the Guddu barrage and the meteorological office has forecast only scattered rain for the next two days.

Survivors have lashed out at authorities for failing to come to their rescue, piling pressure on Pakistan's cash-strapped administration straining to contain Taliban violence and an economic crisis.

Drug shortage

At the Ali Wahan camp about 20km east of Sukkur, there were hardly a dozen flood survivors and a clinic with limited stocks of basic medicine, but no life-saving drugs.

"There are no facilities for families to live in this camp. My husband has gone to arrange some transport and we'll leave," said Mai Jannat, 35.

Doctor Nazir Ahmed at the camp said patients were suffering from gastroenteritis, stomach and eye diseases.

People have also been unwilling to abandon their livestock despite insistence from navy personnel to evacuate.

Mohammad Akbar, 42, a farmer, said he owned 10 buffalos and a dozen goats which he could not leave behind in Sangi village, 30km west of Sukkur.

"Without them we would be nowhere, our life would be ruined," he told AFP.

The UN said donors have already provided $38.2m while a further $90.9m has been promised, but on the ground Islamic charities with suspected extremist links have been far more visible in the relief effort.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who courted massive criticism for not returning from Britain and France at a time of national disaster, was back home on Tuesday, although it was not immediately clear if he would visit the affected areas.

Read more on:    taliban  |  unhcr  |  pakistan  |  weather  |  aid  |  floods
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. 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

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...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.