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UN chief to report to General Assembly on Pakistan trip: spokesman

08-17-2010 08:41 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon, who is in Pakistan to show the strong UN support for the flood-hit country, is scheduled to return to the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday afternoon, and he is expected to report to the UN General Assembly on his Pakistan tour on Thursday, UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters here.

"The secretary-general will be back at (the) UN Headquarters this afternoon for a few meetings and he will be on vacation for the rest of this week," Haq said.

But the secretary-general will return on Thursday to report to the General Assembly on his visit to Pakistan, Haq said.

Ban arrived in the South Asian nation on Sunday to demonstrate the support of the United Nations and the international community in the wake of what has been called the country's worst disaster in living memory -- having claimed more than 1,200 lives and leaving at least 2 million homeless. He called for the rapid delivery of assistance for millions of people in flood-stricken Pakistan, as he saw for himself the devastation wrought by the recent disaster.

During the visit, the secretary-general announced a further contribution of 10 million U.S. dollars through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, in addition to 16.3 million U.S. dollars already contributed through that Fund, Haq said.

The secretary-general had visited a relief camp in the district of Multan, located in the country's central-eastern province of Punjab, where he met flood victims and saw the assistance being provided to them, Haq said.

Ban was accompanied by the emergency relief coordinator, John Holmes, who said that this is likely to be his last trip in that capacity.

The secretary-general also met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, Haq said. Ban said he hoped his visit would help to accelerate the rate of generous support from the international community.

An estimated 14 million people have been affected by the floods, which began late last month in the wake of particularly heavy monsoon rains and have destroyed homes, farmland and major infrastructure in large parts of the country, most notably the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

Speaking at a news conference after touring the affected areas, Ban described what he witnessed as "heart wrenching," recalling scenes of washed-out roads, bridges and even whole villages, as well as people marooned on tiny islands with flood waters all around them.

"I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past I have visited the scenes of many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this," he said. "The scale of this disaster is so large, (with) so many people, in so many places, in so much need."

Last week the UN and its partners announced they are seeking nearly 460 million U.S. dollars to help Pakistan tackle the needs of flood-affected families, including food, clean drinking water, tents and other shelter and non-food items, as well as medical supplies.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA) reported over the weekend that although the scale of the disaster continues to expand, just 20 percent -- some 93 million U. S. dollars -- of the funding requirements set out in the Pakistan Initial Floods Response Emergency Plan have so far been covered.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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