UK doubles Pak flood aid to 64.3 million pounds

London, Aug 20(ANI): The United Kingdom has decided to raise its aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan by 33 million pounds to bring its total commitment to 64.3 million pounds.

The International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said that an extra 33 million pounds would be available to help with providing food, clean drinking water, medicine and shelter.

The UK has already allocated 31.3 million pounds.

Mitchell told the UN that there was "a dire need for more help" and described the level of assistance offered by the world community so far as "unacceptable".

"It is clear that unless more aid is delivered now, many more people will die from disease and malnutrition," The Independent quoted Mitchell, as saying.

"It is deeply depressing that the international community is only now waking up to the true scale of this disaster. I am in New York to urge the rest of the world to follow the example of those countries that have increased their support in recent days."

"The wealthiest nations - especially those in the G8 - have a duty to step up their response dramatically," he added.

He further said that Britain's funding would be channelled through the Red Cross, Red Crescent Societies and non-government organizations.

The floods, triggered by torrential monsoon downpours just over three weeks ago, have claimed the lives of over 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of 20 million people, eight percent of the population.

The "worst national disaster in Pakistan's history" has wiped out entire villages, farmland and infrastructure, particularly in the northwestern region.

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.

The United States, Germany, Australia and Saudi Arabia have all announced new pledges of aid, while Japan said it would send helicopters to help distribute food, water and medicine.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that it would redirect two billion dollars of existing and planned loans for reconstruction.

"We have to put every road and every bridge back into the shape where they should be," said Juan Miranda, ADB Central and West Asia Director General. (ANI)

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