[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
UN chief: Pakistan needs more aid
Ban Ki-moon says floods are the worst disaster he has ever seen after visiting flooded areas.
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2010 20:29 GMT


Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports on unforeseen problems in the aid effort 

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has said that the Pakistan floods are the worst disaster he has ever seen and has issued a fresh call for international aid to help those affected by the crisis.    

Speaking alongside Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president, after a tour of the disaster zone, Ban said on Sunday it had been "heart-wrenching day."  

"I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today," he said. "In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this.''

The UN has appealed for an initial $460 million to provide emergency relief, but only 20 per cent has so far been given.

"Waves of flood must be met with waves of support from the world,'' said Ban. "I'm here to urge the world to step up assistance.''

"Waves of flood must be met with waves of support from the world"

Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General

The floods began more than two weeks ago and have hit about one-quarter of the country. Huge swathes of land remain under water, and hundreds more homes
were flooded over the weekend. Twenty million people are believed to have been affected.

Ban's visit comes a day after the UN confirmed the country's first case of cholera in Mingora, in the northwestern district of Swat, raising the spectre of a disease outbreak over an already bleak situation.

Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, said at least 36,000 people were reportedly suffering from acute watery diarrhoea.

"We're not suggesting that everyone who has acute watery diarrhoea has cholera, but cholera is certainly a concern and that's why we're stepping up our efforts," he said on Saturday.

Relief effort criticised

The United Nations has appealed for $460m to deal with the immediate aftermath of the floods, but charities and officials said the figure falls far short of what is needed.

Special coverage

"The floods affected some 20 million people, destroyed standing crops and food storages worth billions of dollars, causing colossal loss to national economy," Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, said.

"I would appeal to the world community to extend a helping hand to fight this calamity," he said on Saturday.

Charities said relief for those affected by the disaster, which has left more than 1,600 people dead across the country, was lagging far behind what was needed.

"There are millions of people needing food, clean water and medical care and they need it right now," Jacques de Maio, head of operations for South Asia at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said.

"Clearly at this point in time the overall relief effort cannot keep pace with the overall scale of the emergency."

Humanitarian agencies in Pakistan were monitoring the risk of "a second wave of deaths induced by the floods in the shape of water-borne diseases", de Maio said.

Manuel Bessler, the head of the UN office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told Al Jazeera that many parts of the country are only accessible via helicopter, making it difficult to provide drinking water.

"The only means to bring in clean water is tankering, having trucks to reach the area," he said. "But the major challenge is access. In a lot of areas, particularly in the north, we have no access, with all the major bridges that lead over the Swat river washed away."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list