Ban Ki-moon visits Pakistan as floods continue

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 15, 2010 09:41

 
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UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon visited Pakistan Sunday to boost relief efforts as the floods which have made 20 million people homeless continued.

Authorities said more flood surges were coursing down the River Indus and other waterways in southern Sindh province and were expected to peak later Sunday, causing fresh deluges. The river, which in better times irrigates the crops of millions of farmers, is 15 miles (25 kilometers) wide at some points — 25 times wider than during normal monsoon seasons.

The United Nations said the rate of diarrheal disease continued to increase among survivors. Cholera, which can spread rapidly after floods and other disasters, had also been detected in the northwest, where the floods first hit more than two weeks ago.

About 1,500 people have died in the disaster and more than 7.9 million acres (3.2 million hectares) of cotton, sugar cane and wheat crops destroyed. The International Monetary Fund has warned of dire economic consequences in a country already reliant on foreign aid to keep its economy afloat and one key to the US-led war against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

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