Pakistani PM Makes Plea for Rain-Battered Country

Posted September 10th, 2011 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's prime minister is urging the Pakistani people to come together to help the nation recover from torrential rains that have left some areas completely flooded.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani made his appeal on Pakistani television late Saturday, after driving rains pounded the southern city of Karachi.

Flood waters ran through the streets of Karachi earlier in the day, snarling traffic and sending several people to the hospital. Hospital sources told the Associated Press nine people died.

Pakistan's government says about five million people have been displaced by the rain-induced floods, which have covered some 1.6 million hectares of land.

Mr. Gilani said Saturday the government hopes to set aside more than $80 million to help hard hit areas, like Sindh province, rebuild. But he also appealed to the international community for assistance.

More than 140 deaths have been blamed on this year's monsoon rains.

Mr. Gilani says the hard hit areas of Pakistan have received 142% more rainfall than normal.

On Thursday, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari appealed to the United Nations and the international community to provide humanitarian and rehabilitation aid.

Pakistan's Foreign Office says the country is in urgent need of tents, water purification equipment, food, medicine and pumps.

The government estimates that damage caused by this season's rains could run into billions of dollars.

Pakistan is still recovering from last year's devastating floods that killed more than 1,700 people and affected nearly 20 million others. Aid agencies say tens of thousands of families made homeless by last year's floods are still without proper housing.