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Published On: Thu, Aug 19th, 2010

Pakistan flood homeless toll put at over 4 million: ‘Letter to frame context’

More than four million Pakistanis have been made homeless by nearly three weeks of floods, the United Nations said on Thursday, making the critical task of securing greater amounts of aid more urgent.

The U.N. had earlier said that two million people had lost their homes in the worst floods in Pakistan’s history.

Aid agencies have been pushing for more funding as they try to tackle major problems such as food supplies, lack of clean water and shelter and outbreaks of disease.

The economic costs of the floods are expected to run into the billions of dollars, stepping up pressure on Pakistan’s government just after it had made progress in stabilising the country through security offensives against Taliban insurgents.

Floods have ruined crops over an estimated area of more than 1.6 million acres, hammering the mainstay agriculture industry.

Some report that the flood water is still rising in parts of the country:

Flood victims are turning on each other as aid is handed out. The elderly sometimes take food from children as anger rises over the government’s perceived sluggish response to the crisis. In the small town of Alipur in the agricultural heartland Punjab province, troops and police with batons charged flood victims trying to grab food unloaded from a helicopter.

Villages were totally submerged and in many places people were stranded either on rooftops or high ground. Some waved empty pots and pans at a military helicopter, wondering, like millions of others, when food supplies will arrive.

Aninda Mitra, a Moody’s Investors Service analyst for Pakistan, doubts the disaster will have short-term implications on sovereign ratings.

“I think even the most conservative donor will clearly understand the human implications of this disaster,” he said.

“But in the long term, to what extent the economy can bounce back and recover is going to be quite crucial and that is something we are interested in getting an assessment on.”

by Zeeshan Haider

Below is a letter published by StarTribune.com. I don’t know about the figures, but this situation is dire.

Letter of the day: Putting Pakistan’s flood devastation into context

Take a moment and imagine that every man, woman and child in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana were homeless and without access to clean water and food. What would you do? Where would you go? I’ve just described the conditions in Pakistan today. Twenty million homeless! Conditions in Pakistan have reached crisis proportions. The Pakistanis need our help now.

L. HUDSON, GOLDEN VALLEY

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/letters/101031834.html?elr=KArksc8P:Pc:UHDaaDyiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

“I don’t know if anyone has understood the enormity of the disaster that has hit Sindh like an avalanche,” says Hasan Ali Khan, the chairman of Continental Biscuits that is based in Sukkur. While he may not necessarily be a spokesman for the people of the area, he has perhaps articulated one facet of this tragedy.

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- Stories transferred over from The Desk of Brian where the original author was not determined and the content is still of interest of Dispatch readers.

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