News / Asia

Pakistanis Flee As More Towns Flood

TEXT SIZE - +

Raging floodwaters have inundated more districts in southern Pakistan, where officials say the world has given or pledged more than $800 million to help the country cope with its natural disaster.

Pakistani authorities have diverted their resources and rescue operations toward southern parts of Sindh Province, where rising river waters have hit at least four more districts, including urban areas.  The floods forced tens of thousands of people in the region to flee for higher ground.

Exceptionally heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan triggered the worst floods in northwestern Khyber-Pakhtoonkhawa Province three weeks ago.  Raging floodwaters have since inundated thousands of villages and towns across central Punjab, southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces.

Watch the Latest Footage of Pakistan's Flooding:

The United Nations appealed for nearly $460 million to meet the most urgent needs of the flood victims in Pakistan for the next three months.  The initial response to the appeal was slow.

But Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad last week's U.N General Assembly's special session to discuss the flood-ravaged country's needs has led to an encouraging increase in the international aid.

"And the money already committed as $490 million.  So that means we have crossed the (U.N) appeal figure (of 460)," said Qureshi.  "Then there are additional pledges that are being made.  If you put these two figures together the figure that comes to is $815,058,000. That is almost double than the figure that we were expecting."

The Pakistani foreign minister says his country is grateful for the international assistance.  The United States has been the largest contributor. In addition to $150 million aid for flood victims, Washington has sent 19 helicopters to help Pakistan with relief efforts.

Foreign Minister Qureshi defended his government's decision to accept $5 million in assistance offered by rival India, with which Pakistan has fought three wars.

"Let us be realistic about things.  Here we are appealing to the world to help Pakistan save lives.  Children, women and Pakistanis are under threat because of cholera, because of water-born disease, and the world has come out to help Pakistan," he said.  "Now India has offered assistance. And I think it was a positive gesture and we should have no remorse or regrets doing that [accepting the Indian aid].  This is a question of humanity, humanitarian assistance.  So let us keep politics aside."

The worst floods in Pakistan's history have affected an estimated 20-million people with several million losing their homes. The natural disaster has caused widespread damage to crops, agricultural land, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure on one-fifth of Pakistan's territory.

The increasingly unpopular Pakistani government has been accused of moving too slowly to help the flood victims.  Critics say it will come under increased pressure after floodwaters recede because millions of people will want the government to quickly rebuild their homes and compensation for the loss of crops as well as livestock.

Officials anticipate the floodwaters will recede nationwide in the next few days as the surge in the Indus River is expected to empty into the Arabian Sea.  

Government officials say at least 1,600 people have died in flood-related incidents.  But aid workers say poor hygiene, sanitation and stifling heat conditions in the disaster zone could trigger another wave of deaths.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid