ban ki-moon 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Secretary Ban Ki-moon visited Pakistan Sunday to boost relief efforts as
the floods which have made 20 million people homeless continued.
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.
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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.
"The whole of Sindh is drowning," said Ghulam Sarwar, who was living
in a tent on the edge of the city of Sukkur after fleeing is home along
with his wife and eight children. "We do not know how long we will have
UN chief Ban was to visit flood-devastated areas Sunday and meet with government officials, a spokesman said.
United States has so far donated the most to the relief effort, at
least $70 million, and has sent military helicopters to rescue stranded
people and drop off food and water. Washington hopes the assistance will
support a pivotal regional ally and help improve its image in the
country — however marginally — as it seeks its support in the battle
"So far, if anyone has practically given us
maximum help, it is America," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said
when a Pakistani reporter suggested the US has done little since the
Two additional US Navy MH-53E Sea Dragon
helicopters arrived in Pakistan on Saturday to support flood relief
efforts, the US State Department said. That brings to seven the total
number of aircraft in Pakistan from the USS Peleliu, which is positioned
in international waters in the Arabian Sea.
In the northwest of
the country, US missiles killed 12 people Saturday in a Pakistani
tribal region filled with Islamist insurgents bent on pushing Western
troops out of neighboring Afghanistan. The strike was the first in
The Pakistani government's reputation — already
shaky to begin with — has suffered during the crisis, especially after
the president decided to visit Europe as the crisis was unfolding.
President Asif Ali Zardari has tried to make up for that public
relations gaffe by meeting with flood victims in hard-hit areas since
"We are with you. Pakistan is with you, and the people
of Pakistan are with you," he told survivors at a relief camp in the
northwest's Nowshera city Saturday. He promised the government would
rebuild victims' homes.