Number of people affected by Pakistan floods climbs to 6 million – UN

Victims of the worst floods to hit Pakistan in several years

8 August 2010 – The number of people affected by the worst floods in living memory in Pakistan has been revised upward to 6 million, the United Nations announced today, voicing concern over hundreds of thousands of people who are stranded and unable to receive aid.

As of yesterday, it was estimated that just over 4 million were affected by the deadly flooding, but the figure has been adjusted and is based on the latest estimated produced by the provincial authorities of Baluchistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province, in cooperation with the UN.

“Things will probably get worse, before they start getting better,” said Martin Mogwanja, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan. “We are working at full speed to respond to the most urgent needs of the affected populations.”

The flooding has reached Sindh province, in southern Pakistan, with hundreds of villages having been flooded. The protective bund at Torhi in the province's north has been breached and several barrages and embankments could also in danger of breaking.

“While comprehensive estimates are not yet available, it is certain that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, are being affected in this province,” said Dennis Bruhn, a UN disaster management expert who arrived in Sindh today.

According to forecasts, heavy rain will continue to fall in the province for at least the next three days.

The UN said today that until the flooding, triggered by monsoon rains, recedes, it will be nearly impossible to assess damage and deliver urgently-needed supplies to people in the hardest-hit areas.

“We are particularly concerned about the needs of 600,000 people, who remain completely cut off in the north of KPK, especially as no helicopter deliveries have been possible for three days because of bad weather,” said Wolfgang Herbinger, Country Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The world body estimates that hundreds of millions – possibly reaching into the billions to restore livelihoods over the long run – will be required in the coming months for relief operations.

It has also noted that the needs arising from this disaster are comparable to those that following the 2005 earthquake.

To date, KPK, in northwest Pakistan, has been hardest hit by the flooding, with an estimated 3.9 million people affected, including 1.5 million who have been made homeless.


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