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Australia to provide over $21 mln to flood victims in Pakistan

08-17-2010 13:43 BJT

CANBERRA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith Tuesday urged Australians to get behind the Pakistan aid effort after announcing another 24 million Australian dollars (21.5 million U.S. dollars) government money to be provided to the flood victims in the country.

Smith confirmed that the Government will provide the extra funds on top of the 11 million Australian dollars (10 million U.S. dollars) already pledged, after the United Nations and Pakistan issued urgent appeals for more aid.

He said that he wants more Australians to step up and help after what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described as the worst humanitarian disaster he had ever seen.

"The situation continues to deteriorate. There are grave fears the flooding will worsen," Smith told Radio National on Tuesday morning.

Around 10 million dollars (9 million U.S. dollars) will be given to the World Food Program to spend on emergency supplies, and to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to spend on water sanitation equipment, while 2.5 million dollars (2.2 million U.S. dollars) will go towards Australian non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Smith said he will hold meetings with more aid organizations on Tuesday morning about what more can be done to help Pakistan, adding that many groups are hoping more Australians will contribute to the aid effort.

The United Nations (UN) said that up to 3.5 million children are at risk from deadly disease in Pakistan's flood-affected areas.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ( OCHA) said water-borne diseases could trigger a second wave of deaths from the floods.

It is now estimated that up to 20 million people have been affected by the floods in Pakistan. More than 750,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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