Pak wants UN debate on flood situation, says envoy

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Islamabad, Aug 13(ANI): Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, Hussain Haroon, has said that his country is trying for a UN General Assembly debate on the flood situation, and making all-out efforts for international aid.

"We have talked to the UN General Assembly President for holding a general debate on the issue of flood as it is a bigger tragedy than tsunami," The Daily Times quoted Haroon, as saying.

He further said that according to a general estimate, the floods would affect "Pakistan's national economy by up to five to ten billion dollars".

"Different sections of economy such as food items, cotton crop etcetra, will also be badly affected the next year," he added.

Haroon also said that instead of seeking cash, his government is "asking the international community to come and assist the victims in whichever form, they wish."

"In the second phase, the foreign countries could give their aid for Pakistan's future needs on their terms," he added.

The UN has already rated the floods in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history.

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 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

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.

"This disaster is worse than the tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the Haiti earthquake," said Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The floods first struck the western province of Baluchistan on July 22 before inundating the worst-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and then entering Punjab and Sindh.

It is threatening greater damage as relief and rescue work have been hit badly by continuous rains, particularly in the north western region. (ANI)

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