Pakistan flood victims desperate for emergency relief

Pakistan flood victims desperate for emergency relief

Tens of thousands of Pakistani flood victims on Sunday criticized relief efforts as government agencies struggled to reach isolated areas, dpa reported.

   At least 850 people died, mostly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, in floods caused by monsoon rains that inundated thousands of villages and millions of acres of farmlands.

   Pakistan mobilized more than 30,000 troops for relief efforts. An army spokesman said troops had evacuated more than 19,000 people in different areas by using helicopters and boats.

   Refugees are in crowded government schools and other official buildings where food and fresh water is not adequately available and threat of disease like diarrhoea and skin problems loomed large.

   "We were about to drown when we left everything, just picked the children and came to this building," said one victim near Peshawar. "But we are not getting enough to eat."

   Many others were unable to leave their flooded areas and were still waiting for relief supplies.

   Faisal Naizi, from the Mianwali district in the eastern province of Punjab, said the many rural areas were completely submerged.

   "Thousands of people are trapped in these areas and looking for assistance," Niazi said.

   Rescue workers faced difficulties reaching the stranded people as most of the roads have been blocked and the bridges washed away.

Torrential rains also hit Pakistan-administered Kashmir region, where over 57 were killed due to rain-related accidents.

   The United Nations said that over 1 million had been affected by the floods.

   US Ambassador to Pakistan Ann Patterson promised seven helicopters to assist in relief efforts.

   Pakistan like other South Asian countries experiences an annual monsoon, which brings heavy rains to the whole subcontinent in July and early August.

   The national Meteorological Department, which has predicted 10 per cent more rain this year than normal, warned Sunday of a new rainy spell in the next 24 hours.

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