18 Sep 2010

UN launches largest-ever appeal to help Pakistan

2:30 pm on 18 September 2010

The United Nations has appealed for millions of dollars more in aid to help Pakistan recover from floods that have devastated much of the country and displaced millions of people.

The UN says it needs $US2 billion to help up to 14 million people over a period of a year - the organisation's largest-ever aid appeal for a natural disaster. The funds include $US500 million already raised.

The money will fund projects carried out by 15 UN bodies and more than 100 aid agencies, the BBC reports.

The World Food Programme estimates that about 10 million Pakistanis need immediate food assistance.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the appeal to member states covers humanitarian and recovery needs for Pakistan, including projects in agriculture, community restoration, education, health and shelter.

It says that hundreds of thousands of people lost shops and small businesses and that farmers unable to plant crops in the next planting season could be dependent on aid until well into 2012.

The previous largest UN disaster aid appeal was $1.5 billion for Haiti, which was hit by a huge earthquake in January. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the Pakistani floods are the worst natural disaster to which the UN has responded in its 65-year history.