Pakistan calls for flood victim aid

More bad weather predicted after 600 people killed across the region.

    A cyclone in Baluchistan was the worst to hit the province in at least 100 years [AFP]
    Cyclone devastation
     
    The cyclone and floods, the worst in Baluchistan since records began nearly 100 years ago, have affected up to two million people and killed about 110.
     
    An estimated 250,000 people are homeless.

    The cyclone hit three days after ferocious wind and rain killed about 230 people in the southern city of Karachi.

    Following a two-day tour of the flooded area on Sunday, Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan's prime minister, asked for relief and rehabilitation aid from foreign countries, international agencies and private donors.

    He said more helicopters would be added to army efforts to ferry food, medicine and other relief supplies to areas of Baluchistan.

    Relief push

    Ali Gul Kurd, deputy provincial relief commissioner, said that the weather was generally clear on Monday and rescuers were taking advantage to push into areas that have been cut off for nearly a week.

    He said: "The water level is definitely going down ... we're slowly reaching even the worst-hit areas."

    More than two dozen military helicopters aided
    in search, rescue and relief operations [AFP]

    The military was helping organise rescue and relief efforts with six C-130 cargo aircraft and more than two dozen helicopters carrying out search and rescue and relief operations.

    Aid was taken by rail and distributed in the town of Sibi while the coastal belt was supplied by sea.

    Camps for the homeless, who have been crowding into schools, were also being set up.

    But Kurd said: "We don't have tents. Some non-governmental organisations have made commitments but we've also asked the Punjab government to supply us tents immediately."

    Punjab is the centre of Pakistan's textile and tent-making industry.

    Continued rains

    The floods, the worst in Pakistan since 1992, are the second natural disaster to strike the country in 20 months. An earthquake hit northern mountains in October 2005, killing 73,000 people.

    Kurd said snakes and gastro-intestinal problems were also major headaches. Meteorologists said southern parts of Sindh province and Baluchistan's coastal belt faced more bad weather this week.

    Flooding has also hit Pakistan's Khyber Pass area, killing about 50 people.

    In Afghanistan, Nato peacekeepers have been helping after floods killed more than 40 people, destroyed roads and damaged homes and irrigation works.

    In India, about 180 people have been killed in storms and floods over the past 10 days.

    The seasonal rain is vital for the region's agriculture and economy. It also brings relief after many hot, dry months but every year the rains kill hundreds of people.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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