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US Urges Sustained International Aid to Pakistan


U.S. officials say catastrophic floodwaters may be receding in Pakistan, but the nation's crushing humanitarian needs are undiminished.

After weeks of devastation and loss of life, some welcome news emerged from water-logged Pakistan. Daniel Feldman is a deputy to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"The good news at this point is that in most places waters are no longer rising, but are receding, including in Punjab," he said.

Feldman spoke at a State Department briefing in Washington. He was quick to add that diminishing floodwaters do not signal an end to the crisis.

"There are still enormous concerns, particularly on the health front, about stagnant water, on shelter issues," said Feldman. "And the situation is still deteriorating in some parts of the country, particularly in Sindh, where six-million people have been displaced and 4.5 million need humanitarian assistance. The needs are still very, very dramatic."

Feldman said the United States will boost the number of helicopters taking part in relief operations, and will continue to advocate for robust international assistance for Pakistan.

"Thus far, over 60 nations have committed more than $700 million. We now calculate that the U.N. response plan, the initial plan of $460 million, is about two-thirds funded," Feldman said. "But obviously as the crisis response moves from the relief phase to the recovery and reconstruction phase, we calculate that the needs are going to be absolutely vast."

Pakistani leaders are echoing the call for greater international assistance to care for those in need and rebuild the country's devastated infrastructure. The flooding is believed to have killed 1,600 people and left millions destitute.

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