Pakistan Struggles to Cope with Widespread Floods

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 5:37 pm (UTC-5)
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Authorities in Pakistan continue struggling to provide assistance to flood victims in the country's south.

The Pakistani military said Monday it has deployed troops to districts throughout Sindh province and that troops have rescued 58,000 people stranded by the rising water. Security forces have also distributed 885 tons of food and other rations to flood victims.

The United Nations has launched a $357-million appeal to help people cope with the catastrophic floods, which were triggered by weeks of monsoon rains. At least 300 people have been killed and more than 5 million affected by the disaster in the last two months.

The U.N. said Monday its Rapid Response Plan for 2011 aims to provide the families worst hit by the flooding in Pakistan with food, water, sanitation, health and emergency shelter for six months. The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, Timo Pakkala, said that despite these efforts, the needs are growing. He urged the international community to fully support the U.N. plan in order to save lives.

The Rapid Response Plan will be revised within 30 days to reflect evolving humanitarian needs, and to include early recovery strategies to help people rebuild their lives.

The Pakistani military says army doctors have treated close to 39,000 patients in medical camps and mobile medical units set up in Sindh province.

According to Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, all 23 Sindh districts and some parts of neighboring Baluchistan province have now been affected by the floods. Close to 1.4 million houses have been damaged or destroyed and 72 percent of crops have been lost in the flooding.

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 left homeless by last year's disaster are still without proper housing.