UN appeals for 460 million dollar emergency aid for Pak flood victims

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New York, Aug 12(ANI): UN humanitarian chief John Holmes has appealed for 460 million dollars in emergency aid for the flood-affected people in Pakistan.

Holmes called for help saying that the disaster was "one of the most challenging that any country has faced in recent years".

"We have a huge task in front of us to deliver all that is required as soon as possible," The Daily Times quoted Holmes, as saying.

"The death toll has so far been relatively low compared to other major natural disasters, but the numbers affected are extraordinarily high. If we don't act fast enough, many more people could die of diseases and food shortage," he added.

According to assessment done by the UN, the number of people suffering from the massive floods could exceed the combined total in three recent mega disasters-the January 13, 2010 Haiti earthquake, the October 8, 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the December 26, 2004 Asian tsunami.

Although the current 1,600 death toll in Pakistan represents a tiny fraction of the estimated 610,000 people killed in the three previous events, some two million more people - 13.8 million - have suffered losses requiring long or short-term help.

The UN has also warned of a second wave of death among sick, hungry survivors unless help arrived quickly.

"If we do not respond soon enough to the urgent needs of the population, if we do not provide life-saving assistance as soon as is necessary, there may be a second wave of deaths caused by diseases and food shortage," said Maurizio Giuliano, UN humanitarian operations spokesman.

The floods are threatening greater damage as relief and rescue work have been hit badly by continuous rains, particularly in the northwestern region.

The Pakistan Army is leading the relief effort by evacuating people, distributing drinking water, food, medical aid and repairing bridges and roads.

According to officials, water from swollen rivers has also entered occupied Kashmir, where more than 130 people have reportedly been killed. Some parts of Punjab are said to be under six feet of water.

The world famous ancient remains of Mohenjodaro are also under threat from the swollen Indus River in the Sindh province.

Over 900,000 cusecs of water is expected to enter Sindh through the Indus River raising fears over the safety of Mohenjodaro, which was declared a World Heritage site by the UN in 1980. (ANI)

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