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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives in floods-hit Pakistan

08-15-2010 15:33 BJT

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has arrived in Islamabad to see for himself the Pakistan's flood- hit areas and demonstrate the support of the UN and the international community for the Pakistani people and government, said a UN spokesperson on Sunday.

Ban Ki-moon will visit floods-hit areas and will discuss relief efforts with Pakistani leaders, according to Pakistani and UN officials.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Interior Minister Rehman Malik received the UN Secretary-General at the Chaklala military air base near Islamabad. Pakistan's envoy to the UN Hussain Haroon is accompanying the UN Secretary-General.

The UN Secretary-General's visit comes days after the UN launched an appeal for 460 million US dollars to help Pakistan tackle the needs of flood-affected families.

Elisabeth Byrs of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that 20 per cent of the requested amount has been received so far.

The funds requested under the emergency response plan launched in New York on Wednesday covers immediate priorities such as food, clean drinking water, tents and other shelter and non-food items, as well as medical supplies for those affected by the flooding, which began late last month in the wake of heavy monsoon rains.

Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani said on Saturday in his televised address that the worst ever floods in country's history have killed 1,384 people, injured 1,630 injured and damaged over 700,000 homes according to initial estimates. Gilani said the natural calamity has affected approximately 20 million people.

OCHA says that the floods have destroyed homes, farmland and major infrastructure in large parts of the country, most notably the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mengesha Kebede, UNHCR's Representative in Pakistan, said the crisis facing the country is enormous and warned that it will not be over when the flood waters recede.

"We believe that many more communities and refugee camps will literally surface, homes destroyed or very seriously damaged, with hunger and illness exposing in particular women and children to grave situations," said Mengesha.

World Health Organization says one of the major concerns for it is the rising number of people seeking care for waterborne diseases.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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