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Food Needs Rise Dramatically for Pakistan's Flood Victims


As the Pakistani government attempts to respond to the country's worst flooding in 80 years, international aid agencies are stepping up their emergency assistance.

On Tuesday, the United Nations World Food Program said that the latest assessments of the worst affected areas show 1.8 million Pakistani flood victims are in need of food assistance, according to agency spokeswomen Emilia Casella.

"That means these are people whose livelihoods have been destroyed, their homes have been washed away. Some of them are farmers whose crops have washed away and they are not going to be able to feed their families in the immediate future," Casella said.

News from the field

Spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross Christian Cardon said the latest information received from colleagues in Pakistan is grim.

"From what I get from the colleagues there in the field, really that entire villages were totally washed away, roads, bridges, schools, health centers have been totally destroyed," said Cardon. "Also we have noticed contamination of drinking water by the floodwater with lots of risk of disease. Crops destroyed, animals drowned, farm machinery washed away also."

Most urgent needs

Cardon added some of the most urgent needs are food, shelter and the need to re-establish family links in the region.

No epidemics of disease have been reported so far. But the U.N. World Health Organization warned hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of contracting diseases from contaminated water, pointing out that many victims are already suffering from diarrhea and respiratory problems. Medicine and equipment for 200,000 people in the affected areas have been sent by the WHO.

In addition, the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said it is trying to provide shelter to hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by the relentless floods. The agency has delivered 10,000 tents along with other relief supplies and, it said, more are on the way.

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