News / Asia

Disease Threatens Pakistan Flood Victims

Officials overseeing relief efforts in Pakistan say an outbreak of disease is presenting a new threat to flood victims as they brace for more rain.

Health officials Friday said the lack of clean drinking water and sanitation is spreading diarrhea and other diseases that could threaten lives.

An estimated 1,600 people have died from over two weeks of record flooding in the country brought on by heavy monsoon rains.  More storms are expected in the coming days across much of the country.

The United Nations has appealed for $460 million to provide immediate help, including food, shelter and clean water.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to travel to Pakistan Saturday to discuss relief efforts.

The U.S. State Department says Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry will visit flood-stricken areas of Pakistan next week.

Flood-Affected Areas

The State Department said Thursday the United States has so far provided more than $76 million in relief aid to Pakistan.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick says the floods may have caused $1 billion in damage to crops, creating a long-term challenge for the Pakistani economy.

The floods have affected close to 14 million in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces over the last two weeks.  Hundreds of homes, bridges and roads have been washed away and at least 2 million people left homeless.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited flood-hit areas in southern Sindh province Thursday, following widespread criticism of his controversial trip to Europe during the disaster.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani traveled to flood-hit areas in the southwestern Baluchistan province and appealed for more international help.

Meanwhile, two U.S. military helicopters were the first of 19 to arrive in Pakistan on Thursday from a U.S. amphibious assault ship, the USS Peleliu in the Arabian Sea.


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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