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Pakistan Issues New Warnings as Floods Affect 3.2 Million

The United Nations says the worst floods to hit Pakistan in 80 years have affected 3.2 million people, amid warnings of new flooding and further devastation.

Pakistani authorities issued new flood warnings Tuesday as heavy monsoon rains continued to lash the country.

So far, at least 1,500 people have been killed in the worst floods to hit the South Asian country in 80 years. The United Nations estimates that 3.2 million people have been affected in northwest Pakistan alone.

The U.N. Children's Fund said there is a crucial need for food and safe drinking water.

The World Health Organization said no epidemics of disease have been reported, but it warned that hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of diseases from contaminated water.

A World Food Program spokeswoman says 1.8 million Pakistanis are in need of food assistance.

The U.N. refugee agency said it has delivered 10,000 tents with other relief supplies and is stepping up its assistance to provide shelter for hundreds of thousands of homeless people.

Residents living near Warsak Dam on the outskirts of the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Peshawar, were put on alert Tuesday as water levels rose. Flood waters also were reported moving southward toward Punjab and Sindh provinces.

Flood victims across Pakistan have expressed anger at what they say is the government's slow response to the disaster. Many have criticized President Asif Ali Zardari's decision to travel to Europe for a state visit.

The Pentagon said Tuesday it was sending six helicopters from Afghanistan to help with relief efforts in neighboring Pakistan. U.S. forces already have delivered more than 189,000 packaged meals.

Islamist charities, some with suspected ties to militant groups, also have stepped in to provide aid to flood victims.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.