14 Aug 2010

20 million 'homeless' in flood-ravaged Pakistan

9:33 pm on 14 August 2010

devastating floods.

The first case of cholera has been confirmed in Pakistan, which has announced that 20 million people have now been affected by the

devastating floods.

The first case of cholera has been confirmed in Mingora, the main town in the northwestern district of Swat, and aid agencies warn of a second wave of deaths from disease.

At least 36,000 people are reportedly suffering from acute watery diarrhoea.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says there are millions of people immediately needing food, clean water and medical care.

In his address to the nation on Saturday, Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, says 20 million people are now homeless, a much higher estimate than the United Nation's 14 million.

Mr Gilani said there were still flood victims to be reached, but the government was leaving no stone unturned.

The UN has appealled for $US460 million to deal with the immediate aftermath of the floods, but charities say even this figure falls far short of what is needed.

President criticised

President Asif Ali Zardari is spending Saturday touring affected regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces.

The BBC reports he has been bitterly criticised for pressing ahead with a European tour last week.

Mr Zardari spent Thursday visiting affected areas in Sukkur in Sindh province.

Flood levels are expected to surge even higher along parts of the Indus river, with the National Disaster Management Authority saying "major peaks" were expected next week in Punjab and Sindh provinces.