Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pakistani floods affect millions, but level of international aid pitiful

By Vilani Peiris,, Aug 11, 2010

With monsoonal rains continuing, the worst flooding in Pakistan in 80 years is still spreading. Pakistani relief organisations and government agencies are stretched to the limit. Yet despite urgent appeals from the UN and other aid organisations, the level of international aid is pitiful, even measured against the limited assistance donated in other recent disasters.

According to the UN, more than 14 million people, including 6 million children, have been affected by flooding which has ravaged parts of all four provinces in Pakistan. In appealing for further international aid, UN officials pointed out that the number of people affected exceeds the combined total for the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and this year’s earthquake in Haiti.

The death toll at nearly 1,700 is still comparatively low. However, many deaths are likely to be unrecorded. Large areas of the country have been cut off by landslides, washed away road and bridges and flooding. The Swat Valley in the worst affected province—Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North West Frontier Province)—is cut off, trapping an estimated 500,000 people. Most have received no relief supplies, except small quantities being transported into the areas by foot or donkey.

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