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Flood Recovery Could Take Years Says Pakistani President

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has said it will take at least three years for Pakistan to recover from devastating floods that have left nearly 5 million people homeless.

Mr. Zardari said Tuesday he believes the country will never fully recover from the floods, but that the government is working to protect people from similar disasters in the future.

The Pakistani president also reiterated concerns that Islamist militants will try to exploit the floods, which have wiped out villages, infrastructure and farmland in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces. An estimated 1,600 people have been killed.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that more than 3.5 million children are at risk from waterborne diseases. Mr. Gilani said the floods have damaged more than 200 health facilities and displaced roughly a third of the country's 100,000 female health workers from their homes.

Emergency workers in Sindh were shoring up levees Tuesday in an attempt to protect low-lying areas threatened by more flooding.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from the Shadad Kot district in Sindh.

The United Nations International Office of Migration estimates that more than 460,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed in the southern province. A similar number of homes have been destroyed in neighboring Punjab.

Also Tuesday, the Pakistani government announced the government will give $230 to each family affected by the floods.

Pakistani officials are in talks with the International Monetary Fund to re-evaluate the terms of a $10-billion loan program Pakistan agreed to in 2008.

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