Zardari visits flood-hit areas

Zardari visits flood-hit areas

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has flown to flood-hit areas of the country amid criticism of the government over slow response to the disaster, Press TV reported.

Zardari visited a flood relief camp in Sindh province on Thursday.

His spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said he was being briefed by officials near the Sukkur Barrage --a key flood barrier -- in the province.

"He heard people's grievances and told them that the government was determined to improve their situation as quickly as possible," Babar stated.

Pakistan, already plagued with a wave of militancy, chronic power cuts and many other critical issues, braces for floods.

The visit follows criticism of his recent trip to Britain and of the perceived slow response to country's worst humanitarian disaster in the country's history.

The visit drew widespread criticism from Pakistani nationals living aboard, who slammed the president for leaving Pakistan in the aftermath of the devastating floods which hit the country last week.

In defense of his visit, Zardari told the Sunday Telegraph that "These meetings are planned months in advance, and my coming abroad has drawn more attention to them than I myself would have been able to draw."

The Pakistani president's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also defended his father's visit, saying it had helped raise money for flood victims.

Pakistan government on Wednesday issued a fresh flood warning asking for foreign help to contain the disaster.

The UN has launched an appeal for $459 million to help millions of victims of Pakistan's flood. The world body has estimated that at least 1,600 people have been killed in the crisis so far.

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