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UN chief visits flood-stricken Pakistan

First cholera case confirmed as fears for disease epidemic grow.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL Ban Ki-moon arrived in Pakistan today to visit regions devastated by severe flooding. Ki-moon has urged international governments to commit further funds to the aid effort.

Twenty million people have been made homeless and at least 1,600 killed by the flooding already described by the UN as being one of the world’s worst disasters. The UN has appealed for $460 million from international donors to help Pakistan in coping with the flooding.

Fears that diseases such as cholera and malaria could spread quickly among the survivors of the flood are growing after the first cholera case was confirmed yesterday. Containing a cholera outbreak is a priority of aid workers responding to the flood crisis.

Donor fatigue?

Aid agencies have echoed the UN chief’s call for emergency funding, saying that the response needs to be stepped up. Aid organisations say that conditions in Pakistan are deteriorating quickly and current resources are inadequate.

Ireland’s Oxfam director, Jim Clarken, said that the situation is worsening and the disaster requires a huge response:

The rains are continuing and each hour that passes the flooding is multiplying misery across the entire country. Swathes of Pakistan are still under-water and people have seen homes, shops, schools and crops flattened.

The world must not leave these people stranded. This is a mega disaster and it needs a mega response.

In comparison with the influx of aid in the wake of previous disaster, such as the Asian tsunami of 2004, the response to Pakistan’s crisis has been much slower, prompting concerns of ‘donor fatigue’ (people are tired of donating).

UN chief visits flood-stricken Pakistan
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  • Pakistan Floods

    A young flood survivor drinks water at a camp for displaced people near Nowshera, northwest of Pakistan, 14 August, 2010. A case of the deadly waterborne disease cholera has been confirmed in Pakistan's flood-ravaged northwest, and aid workers expect there to be more, the U.N. said Saturday. The discovery came as new flood surges hit the south and the prime minister said the deluge has made 20 million people homeless.Source: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
  • Pakistan Floods

    A flood survivor casts a shadow and reflection into the flood waters as he salvages belongings in Azakhel near Nowshera, northwest of Pakistan on Saturday Aug. 14, 2010. Around 1,500 people have died in the floods, which have affected directly or indirectly 14 million people, and aid workers have warned that diseases spread in the aftermath could raise the death toll.Source: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
  • Pakistan Asia Floods

    Pakistani flood survivors live in a camp set up for displaced people in Sukkar, Pakistan, on 14 August, 2010.Source: AP Photo/Shakil Adil
  • Pakistan Asia Floods

    Pakistani flood victims fight with each others for a food relief distributed by volunteers in Pakistan.Source: AP Photo/Shakil Adil
  • Pakistan Asia Floods

    Pakistani flood survivors struggle for biscuit packets distributed by volunteers in Muzaffargarh, Pakistan.Source: AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary
  • Pakistan Floods

    A flood survivor drinks from a water pump amid the rubble of destroyed homes in Azakhel, near Nowshera, northwest Pakistan.Source: AP Photo/Aaron Favila
  • Pakistan Floods

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center with glasses, talks to media upon his arrival at Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to flood-ravaged Pakistan on Sunday to boost relief efforts as the 20 million people made homeless in one of the worst disasters to hit the country grew increasingly desperate.Source: AP Photo/Anjum Naveed

US drone attack

A US drone attack on militant targets in Pakistan’s volatile Waziristan region has killed 13 Taliban fighters, according to the Times of India. Six other militants were injured in the attack.

The US, which is pushing Pakistan in its battle against the Taliban, had suspended the missile attacks due to the country’s severe flooding and this was the first such attack this month.

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