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A Pakistani boy shouts to attract attention from a man handing out relief goods at a camp flood victims in Muzaffargarh, Punjab province, Pakistan on 18 August, 2010. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

Pakistan: in pictures

UN holds emergency session to boost aid to flood-stricken country.

FLOODWATERS WHICH CONTINUE to ravage Pakistan won’t recede until the end of this month, according to the country’s top meteorologist, Arif Mahmood.

Mahmood says that current flooding is heading for major cities in the south such as Hyderabad and Sukkur, but no heavy rain is forecast for this week.

Twenty million people have been affected by severe flooding which began three weeks ago. Just under 1 million homes have been damaged, leaving four million people homeless.

Pakistan’s national disaster management authority has set up special phone lines to help them identify the bodies of flood victims. Around 1,500 people have died.

Call for aid

Speaking on the radio this morning, Trócaire’s Paul Healy said the north of the country was a “desolate wasteland”, with no water, medicine or utilities to cook food.

The UN is holding an emergency session today, to push for international donors to supply funds for Pakistan. So far, only half of the $460 million the UN has appealed for has actually been pledged.

Minister Peter Power will address the General Assembly at the meeting, which begins at 8pm Irish time. The EU announced an extra €30m, bringing the total donated by the EU to €70m.

A spokesperson for the UN said that despite the initial sluggish response to the disaster, the pace of donations was picking up:

There has been an increase in the pace of pledges, but we still need more funds, tents, food, water and medical supplies.

Pakistan: in pictures
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  • Pakistan Floods

    A flood affected woman peeks through a tent as another girl stands by in Nowshera, Pakistan, 18 August, 2010. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
  • Pakistan Floods

    A flood survivor feeds pigeons outside a camp for displaced people in Muzaffargarh, Punjab province, 18 August, 2010. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Pakistan Flood

    A United Arab Emirates Chinook carries food supply over Taunsa Sharif in Punjab province flooded areas on it's way to Retra town about 55 kms north west of Multan, Pakistan,Wednesday Aug. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
  • Pakistan Floods

    Pakistani flood survivors migrate to safe areas in Muzaffargarh near Multan, Pakistan on 18 August, 2010. (AP Photo/K.M.Chaudary)
  • Pakistan Flood

    A crew member of a United Arab Emirates Chinook, which carries food supplies over Taunsa Sharif in Punjab province flooded areas, examines the flight routines while on the way to Retra, a town about 55 kms north west of Multan, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
  • Pakistan Floods

    Displaced flood survivors live in tents set up for them in Muzaffargarh near Multan, Pakistan on 18 August, 2010. (AP Photo/K.M.Chaudary)
  • Pakistan Floods

    Pakistanis rests on a bed at a flooded area in Muzaffargarh, Punjab province, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Pakistan Floods

    A boy receives relief food at a camp for flood affected people on the outskirt of Sukkur, in southern Pakistan. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)
  • PakistanAugust16

  • PakistanAugust16

Insurgency fears

As Pakistan’s military is consumed by flood-relief operations, fears that militants will take advantage of the crisis and return to areas where they were driven out are mounting.

The US held off on drone attacks planned for Taliban targets in northern Pakistan when the flooding began, but launched it first missile attack this month on 15 August, killing 13 insurgents.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to announced an aid increase today that will push US aid to Pakistan over $100 million.