UN reports more Pakistanis in need of help as unrelenting floods spread

“We are working day and night to bring relief to millions of women, men, and children, but the floods appear determined to outrun our efforts,” said Martin Mogwanja, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan. “We have been scaling up, but must scale up even further,” he added.The Indus River is raging at 40 times its normal volume, with the largest surge of water now in the Thatta district of Sindh.“People had been warned. But only after the river broke its banks and the water started to inundate their villages, they escaped,” said Andro Shilakadze, head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Sindh’s provincial capital, Karachi. “It was very sudden. People had to leave in a rush, many of them during the night, taking almost nothing with them. Many are still stranded, and are now being rescued by the national authorities.”The UN and its partners are providing assistance to millions of people in all flood-affected areas. In Sindh, emergency shelter has reached approximately 120,000 people, out of 1.1 million reached nationwide, while clean water is being provided on a daily basis to only 50,000 people.“We are scaling up response to reach all those in need,” said Manuel Bessler, head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Pakistan. “But with 1 million more displaced people in Sindh over the past two days, and thousands more people being affected almost every day, needs quickly outplace our capacity, our supplies, and our resources.”An estimated 17.2 million people have been affected across the country, from the Himalaya mountains in the north, to the Arabian Sea in the south. “The closer we get to our targets in terms of beneficiaries to be reached, the more these targets increase,” said Mr. Bessler.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said it is facing a $90 million shortage in the funding it needs to continue providing assistance those affected, and urged donors who have already made pledges to expedite disbursement.WFP’s portion of the $460 million Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan launched earlier this month is $150 million.The funds are needs quickly to ensure that the food pipeline for flood survivors does not break as the number of those in need rises, WFP spokesperson Emilia Casella told reporters in Geneva.WFP is also responding to the needs of those with special nutritional needs, particularly children, some of whom require supplementary ready-to-eat foodstuff to prevent malnutrition, she said.The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said there were increased risks of disease outbreaks, particularly waterborne diseases, especially in Sindh and Punjab. People were seeking treatment mainly for acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, skin infections and suspected cases of malaria, said WHO’s spokesperson in Geneva, Fadela Chaid.The UN Children’s Fund said more than 1 million children and women had received vaccinations against various health problems. 27 August 2010The surging Indus River in Pakistan continues to inundate more areas and swell the numbers of people in need of humanitarian assistance, the United Nations reported today, saying another 1 million people have been displaced by floods in the southern province of Sindh during the past two days alone. read more