News / Asia

UN Warns of Disease in Pakistan; Response to Aid Appeal Sluggish

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The United Nations says 3.5 million children in Pakistan are at risk from waterborne diseases,  warning of a "second wave of death" from the country's devastating floods.

U.N. humanitarian spokesman Maurizio Giuliano said Monday as many as six million people in Pakistan face the risk of contracting diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses if donors do not provide more aid following the country's devastating floods.

The World Health Organization's representative in Pakistan, Guido Sabatinelli, says a lack of clean water and unavailability of medication is a "deadly combination" for those already in poor living conditions.

The U.N. has launched an appeal for $460 million, but charities say the response has been sluggish, with only about 35 percent of the goal being met so far.

Three weeks of monsoon rains have triggered Pakistan's worst flooding, with an estimated 1,600 people killed and 20 million affected in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces.

On Monday, authorities said a new wave of flooding was likely along the Indus River in Punjab and Sindh.

Hundreds of angry flood victims blocked a highway outside Sukkur in Sindh Monday, demanding government assistance.  The protesters held up traffic as they called for food and shelter.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon traveled to Pakistan on Sunday and said the flooding was the worst natural disaster he has ever seen.  He urged international donors to speed up aid.

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Monday called the international response to the disaster lamentable.  Britain has so far provided roughly $26 million in emergency assistance.

The U.S. military has dispatched 19 helicopters to assist in relief efforts, including four that arrived in Pakistan on Monday.  So far, U.S. aircraft have rescued more than 3,500 people and delivered nearly 200,000 kilograms of supplies.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Monday that NATO officials are in talks with the Pakistani government to set up an "air bridge" to fly relief goods into Pakistan.

The Pakistani foreign minister is set to attend Thursday's special session of the U.N. General Assembly on the floods.

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


Flood-Affected Areas

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