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5.7M Pakistan Flood Victims in Crisis  10/03 06:08

   

   ISLAMABAD (AP) -- The United Nations humanitarian agency is warning that 
about 5.7 million Pakistani flood survivors will face a serious food crisis in 
the next three months, as the death toll from the deluge rose on Monday.

   Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority reported that floods 
fueled by abnormally heavy monsoon rains have killed 1,695 people, affected 33 
million, damaged more than 2 million homes and displaced hundreds of thousands 
now living in tents or makeshift homes.

   The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in its latest 
report Saturday said the current floods are expected to exacerbate food 
insecurity in Pakistan and said 5.7 million people in flood-affected areas will 
be facing a food crisis between September and November.

   Even before the floods, according to the World Health Organization, 16% of 
the population was living in moderate or severe food insecurity.

   However, Pakistan's government insists that there is no immediate worry 
about food supplies, as wheat stocks are enough to last through the next 
harvest and that the government is importing more.

   The U.N. agency said in a tweet on Monday that the agency and other partners 
have scaled up their flood response and delivered aid to 1.6 million people 
directly affected by the deluges.

   OCHA said outbreaks of waterborne and other diseases are on the rise in 
Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces, where floods have caused the most 
damage since mid-June.

   Several countries and U.N. agencies have sent more than 131 flights carrying 
aid for survivors, but many are complaining they have either received too 
little help or are still waiting for it.

   The U.N. humanitarian agency also said in its Saturday report that rainfall 
in Baluchistan and Sindh lightened substantially over the past week, as 
temperatures start to decrease ahead of winter.

   "Normal conditions are prevailing in most districts of Baluchistan, while in 
Sindh, the Indus River is flowing normally," said OCHA. Overall, it added, in 
18 out of 22 districts of Sindh, floodwater levels had receded at least 34%, 
and in some districts up to 78%.

   The OCHA report also highlighted the ordeal of flood survivors, saying many 
continue to live in "unsanitary conditions in temporary shelters, often with 
limited access to basic services, compounding the risk of a major public health 
crisis."

   It said pregnant women are being treated in temporary camps when possible, 
and nearly 130,000 pregnant women need urgent health services.

   "Already before the floods, Pakistan had one of the highest maternal 
mortality rates in Asia, with the situation likely to deteriorate," it said.

   The U.N. is due to issue a revised appeal seeking an additional $800 million 
from the international community to respond to the soaring life-saving needs of 
Pakistani flood survivors. The U.N. said last week that "food is being 
delivered to vulnerable families; however, it is still not enough to meet the 
nutrition needs of the people."

   Pakistan says floods caused about $30 billion of damage to its economy.

   Floods washed away thousands of kilometers of roads, destroyed 440 bridges, 
and disrupted railroad traffic.

   Pakistan Railways said it has started restoring train service from Sindh to 
other cities after repairing some of the tracks damaged by floods.

 
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