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Malnutrition Plagues Pakistani Children 6 Months After Floods

Two-year-old Hawal drinks water in a relief camp for flood victims in Thatta, some 100 km from Karachi in Pakistan's Sindh province October 24, 2010.

The United Nations says hundreds of thousands of Pakistani children are suffering from malnutrition six months after severe flooding in the country.

A spokeswoman for the U.N. Children's Fund in Pakistan told VOA Wednesday children in southeastern Sindh province are experiencing malnutrition levels similar to those in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kristen Elsby said a new report reveals the full extent to which the floods worsened the problem of poor nutrition among children aged six months to five years old.

The Sindh provincial government is expected to release a full report Friday that details the severity of malnutrition in the region, and a stronger response plan. Sindh officials conducted a survey in the province in coordination with U.N. officials, the World Health Organization and other non-governmental groups.

The head of Oxfam Pakistan said Wednesday flood relief efforts in Pakistan have only "scratched the surface of human need," as hundreds of thousands of people remain living in temporary camps.

The Britain-based agency said the United Nations has received about half of its $2 billion appeal for aid, and warned the situation could further deteriorate before it improves.

Oxfam is urging the Pakistani government to extend the emergency period, set to end on January 31.

More than 1,700 people were killed and nearly 20 million others affected last year when floodwaters triggered by monsoon rains submerged one-fifth of the country.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.