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Fleeing Pakistanis face epidemic threat

Last updated on: August 17, 2010 00:03 IST

Fleeing Pakistanis face epidemic threat

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A fresh wave of floods has forced thousands of people to flee their homes in southern Pakistan amid warnings that the situation could be further exacerbated due to continuing monsoon rains.

The swollen Indus river burst its banks in southern Sindh province on Monday, inundating hundreds of cities and villages, including Jacobabad, Dadu, Larkana and Naushero Feroze.

Military helicopters flew dozens of sorties to rescue stranded people and airdrop supplies. Click on NEXT to read further...


Photographs: Reuters
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There was a fresh wave of flooding in southwestern Balochistan, where waters submerged Jaffarabad, Nasirabad and Dera Allahyar.

Thousands of villages were inundated, affecting some 500,000 people.

Many victims complained they had been without food and water for up to five days.



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A key rail link between Balochistan capital Quetta and Jacobabad in Sindh was cut by the flood waters.

Authorities warned that a high flood tide was rapidly heading towards Kotri Barrage in Sindh, with the water flow increasing by 1,000 cusecs an hour.

Water flows of 800,000 cusecs were expected at Kotri Barrage in Sindh, where army soldiers were deployed at high-risk areas.



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The Indus is in "exceptionally high flood with rising trend" between Guddu and Sukkur Barrages.

Pakistan's worst floods have killed over 1,700 people and affected 20 million people, leaving the government struggling to rush relief to the victims.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the world community to urgently step up aid for the victims.



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A UN spokesman said 3.5 million children were at high risk from waterborne diseases.

The government's tardy response has sparked anger among victims.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has acknowledged that rehabilitation "would be an uphill task and would require a huge amount of money and resources".

In Sindh, angry stick-wielding survivors blocked a highway outside Sukkur city with stones and garbage and demanded that the authorities should provide them relief.



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There were also reports of protests in Punjab province.

In the remote Gilgit-Baltistan region, officials said they had received reports of shortage of food.

Over 120 people have died across the region due to landslides and flash floods over the past two weeks.

The blockage of the Karakoram Highway since the last week of July has resulted in the depletion of fuel supplies in Gilgit-Baltistan.



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The United Nations children's agency UNICEF on Monday launched an appeal for $47 million to provide quick relief and aid to millions of people affected by the worst floods in Pakistan's history.

Daniel Toole, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund's Regional Director for South Asia, launched the appeal to the international community and donor agencies after visiting a relief camp in Charsadda district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Hospitals, banks and hotels have been closed due to lack of electricity, which has been cut off for over a week.



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Though aid agencies and Pakistani NGOs have been providing aid to thousands of victims every day, the scale of the flooding has resulted in millions of people in remote regions going without aid for days.

UN officials have confirmed the detection of cholera in the northwest.

The incidence of diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases too is high, they warned.



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The UN has appealed for $460 million for an emergency response plan but officials have said more funds will be needed for long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation of entire communities that have been devastated by the floods.

In the northwest, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government asked displaced families to return to their native areas, as the situation was conducive to their shifting despite the fact that three rivers are in high floods.

The displaced people living in relief camps set up in government schools had been asked to go back to their own areas, said an official of the disaster management authority.



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About 1,200 families were repatriated on Sunday, allowing authorities to close 13 relief camps.

Fifty per cent of the displaced people are ready to return on Tuesday and the administration will provide them ration, tents and necessary tools.



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