UN chief: Pakistan needs more aid

Ban Ki-moon says floods are the worst disaster he has ever seen after visiting flooded areas.


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

    "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


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months