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"Millions will die" without aid: Pakistani ambassador

Pakistan’s ambassador to Ireland has said the country is staring into the face of a humanitarian disaster.

Pakistanis line-up during an aid distribution by the United Nations World Food Program at a camp for families displaced by floods

PAKISTAN’S AMBASSADOR to Ireland has warned that millions of people will die if more aid does not reach Pakistan soon.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Naghmana Hashmi described the country was faced with the threat of a “major humanitarian disaster”. She also defended the country in the face of mounting criticism over its reaction to the disaster and its military budget.

Hashmi said that the scale of the disaster is hard to conceive, explaining that size of the area affected is the equivalent to just more than the countries of Switzerland, Austria and Belgium combined.

She also outlined how one in 10 Pakistanis – and 6 million children – will be destitute as a result of the catastrophe.

Hashmi defended Pakistan’s military budget, the size of which has been the focus of criticism. Pakistan’s detractors say the large amount of money spent on the country’s army should be put towards food and shelter for the Pakistani people, as well as providing humanitarian relief in response to the flooding.

However, Hashmi said that Pakistan is a bulwark in the ‘war’ against terrorism and needs to defend itself. She asked that critics consider Pakistan’s history and the threats to the country before they begin to tear apart its military budget.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has called for an urgent meeting is between health officials, provincial leaders, and aid agencies in order to coordinate the relief efforts in Pakistan,.

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