More than 1,500 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands stranded by flooding triggered by the annual monsoon rains. The floodwaters have washed away millions of hectares of crops, submerged villages and destroyed roads and bridges. Disease is spreading among Pakistani flood victims, and there have been warnings that dams in the south may burst.
About 800,000 people have been cut off by floods in Pakistan and are only reachable by air, the United Nations said Tuesday, adding it needs at least 40 more helicopters to ferry lifesaving aid to increasingly desperate people.
The appeal was an indication of the massive problems facing the relief effort in Pakistan more than three weeks after the floods hit the country, affecting more than 17 million people and raising concerns about possible social unrest and political instability. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that about 700,000 Pakistanis have been forced into makeshift settlements just in the southern province of Sindh.
More than 3.5 million children are at risk from waterborne diseases, he said, and skin diseases, respiratory infections and malnutrition are spreading in flooded areas.
- Shazia Sabeen