Ban says 'heart-wrenching' Pak floods worst he's ever seen anywhere

Islamabad, Aug 16(ANI): UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described the destruction in flood-ravaged Pakistan as "heart-wrenching".

Ban arrived in Pakistan on Sunday to boost relief efforts as concerns grew about the 20 million people made homeless in one of the worst disasters to hit the country.

Addressing a joint press conference with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, after a tour of the disaster zone, Ban said: "This has been a heart-wrenching day for me and for my delegation. I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today."

"In the past I have seen scenes of natural disaster around the world, but nothing like this. The scale of this disaster is so large. So many people in so many places in so much need," The BBC quoted Ban, as saying.

The UN Secretary General further issued a fresh call for international aid to help those affected by the crisis.

"The people of Pakistan need food, emergency shelters, medicines, clean water. We are all deeply concerned about the spread of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. All our combined medical capacity will be needed to provide the right drugs and care," Ban said.

Meanwhile, Zardari, whose handling of the crisis has been widely criticised, defended the government's response to the disaster.

"The government has responded very responsibly. The army, the police and officials were all working to relieve the suffering. I would appeal to the press to understand the magnitude of the disaster. It is a time when the nation will stand together," Zardari said.

He also reiterated calls for more international assistance for humanitarian relief and rehabilitation of the victims

"I call upon the whole of the nation, all of Pakistan, indeed I call upon the world to support us and to listen to the voice of the United Nations to support Pakistan," Zardari said. (ANI)

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