20 million affected by Pakistan floods

In Asia, Floods & Storms, News Headlines

Pakistan says 20 million people have been affected by devastating floods, six million more than previously thought, as the United Nations confirmed the first case of cholera in the country.

The number of people affected had generally been counted at 14 million until now, and more than 1,600 people have been killed, in Pakistan’s worst natural disaster.

But amid much public discussion about the effectiveness of the government’s handling of the flood disaster, prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani cited the higher figure of 20 million and stressed the challenge it posed.

“I want to reassure the nation that we will leave no stone unturned in the way of helping people affected by the disaster,” he said.

“I have firm confidence that every individual in our nation, the affluent, the civil society and our youth, will participate with enthusiasm in the process of helping flood victims.”

Mr Gilani said there were still flood victims to be reached.

He also said that despite the unprecedented challenge of the floods the government would continue its fight against terrorism and it expected the world to support it in word and deed.

Cholera risk

United Nations health workers says the first case of cholera has been found at Mingora in the Swat Valley.

One person has been confirmed with the disease and up to 36,000 others have similar symptoms.

UN health workers are stepping up their efforts to deal with the illness, warning of a second wave of deaths as hunger and disease take hold across the country.

The Pakistani government has scrapped Independence Day celebrations today to concentrate on the relief and rescue operation.

Meanwhile, aid workers have been forced to suspend food distributions in some districts in Punjab after hungry flood victims attacked and looted a convoy.

Police used batons to drive back the crowd in Muzzaffargarh.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan tonight, before meeting officials and touring flood-hit areas tomorrow.

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