3.5 million at risk


Up to 3.5m children are at high risk from deadly waterborne diseases in Pakistan following the country's floods, a UN spokesman has said. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has left Pakistan after saying the floods were the worst disaster he had seen.

In southern Pakistan, floodwaters continue to cause havoc with floods surging from the province of Sindh to neighbouring Balochistan. This has led to more people fleeing their homes.

'Up to 3.5 million children are at high risk of deadly waterborne diseases, such as watery diarrhoea and dysentery', Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), is quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. 'What concerns us the most is water and health. Clean water is essential to prevent deadly waterborne diseases. Water during the flood has been contaminated badly. There is a shortage of clean water', he added.

The World Health Organization was also preparing to assist tens of thousands of people in case of cholera, although the government has not notified the UN of any confirmed cases, he added.
He estimated the number at risk from such diseases at six million.

In southern Pakistan, angry flood survivors blocked a main road in Sindh province to protest against the slow delivery of aid and demanded more action from the authorities. One of the protesters, Mohammad Laiq, said the government had to do more to help people. 'There seems to be no government here since the floods. We lost our children, our livestock, we could hardly save ourselves - though we have come here but we are getting nothing. Where is the government, what do we do, where do we go? We have to tell the government and it is the responsibility of the government to do whatever is possible.'

In eastern Balochistan, at least one district centre and three major towns have been inundated following a government decision to divert the thrust of the flood in the Indus River away from Jacobabad, a major town in the north-west of Sindh province, and the nearby Pakistan Air Force base. An official at a power station serving parts of both Sindh and Balochistan reported standing in 5ft-deep (1.5m) water inside the station as engineers battled to restore the power supply after breaches occurred in a nearby canal, reports the BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Islamabad.

On Sunday, Mr Ban again urged the world to speed up aid to the country, saying shelter and medicine were desperately needed. He announced a further US$10m (£6.4m) from the UN's central emergency response fund, making a total of US$27m from the fund so far, and repeated his calls for the international community to come to the aid of Pakistan. Mr Ban said one fifth of Pakistan had been ravaged by floods.

The Pakistani government says up to 20 million people have now been affected by the monsoon floods. At least 1,500 people are known to have lost their lives. The flooding began more than two weeks ago in the mountainous region northwest of Pakistan and has swept south across a quarter of the country, including its agricultural heartland. The US has already donated at least USD70m (GBP45m) to the country, which is a key regional ally in fighting terrorism.

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