Pakistan flood crisis grows

Aug. 16, 2010 at 11:19 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The flooding in Pakistan is a disaster worse than the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan combined, the United Nations said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon toured the devastation during the weekend. He described the catastrophe as rivaling the 2004 tsunami and the 2005 earthquake, which killed more than 300,000 people combined.

"Thousands of towns and villages have simply been washed away," Ban was quoted by CNN International as saying.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, for his part, said through his spokesman that his country was in desperate need of financial assistance to help with long-term reconstruction.

Islamabad said more than 895,000 homes were destroyed and thousands of people were killed and injured during weeks of flooding brought on by monsoon rains.

Nearly one-fifth of the country is underwater.

The international community has contributed roughly $300 million to Pakistani flood relief. Ban said during his weekend visit that he was setting aside $10 million from a U.N. emergency fund to help Pakistan recover, CNN added.

Emergency workers were able to reach some of the people stranded by the flood last week, though officials warn of long-term consequences with monsoon season only half over.

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