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Pakistan facing a ‘second wave of death’

Flood family

Flood victims forced from their homes in Pathan Wala struggle through the waters to find sanctuary. Picture: AFP Source: The Australian

THE UN has warned of a “second wave of death” in Pakistan’s floods as aid groups struggle to raise money to help the 20 million displaced people.

As the death toll topped 1600 people yesterday, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg branded the international response to the catastrophe “lamentable”.

Charities said Pakistan was suffering from an “image deficit” partly because of perceived links to terrorism.

The UN has launched an appeal for $US460 million ($512m), but aid groups said the response had been sluggish and flood survivors lashed out at Pakistan’s weak civilian government.

Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said he feared Pakistan was on the brink of a “second wave of death” unless more donor funds materialised, with up to 3.5 million children at risk from water-borne diseases.

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The World Bank said it had agreed to provide Islamabad with a loan of $US900m.

The US has pledged $US62m and Britain $US26m. In Australia, the federal government said it would provide an additional $24m to support emergency humanitarian relief in Pakistan, bringing Canberra’s total commitment to $35m.

Japan also pledged an additional $US10m on top of the $US3m announced on August 3.

Hours after a report in The Times of London said no Islamic nation appeared on the UN’s list of donors, cash poured out of Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Saudi Arabia had raised $US20.5m in aid on the first day of a national campaign, state news agency SPA said. Turkey doubled its financial aid to $US10m.

Fresh rains threatened further anguish for the millions affected by three weeks of flooding that has engulfed about one quarter of the country, including its rich agricultural heartland.

Typhoid and hepatitis A and E are growing concerns. Cholera is endemic in Pakistan. One charity worker said several flood survivors had already died of the disease.

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Categories: Environment, Middle East, World

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