Pakistan to step up flood relief efforts
The Pakistani government Friday announced plans to intensify rescue and aid efforts for the victims of the worst floods to hit the country for 100 years, dpa reported.
After visiting affected regions, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said "the extent of total damage to life, property, cattle head and infrastructure may be far more than what the initial estimates suggested."
The premier met for two hours late Thursday with President Asif Ali Zardari, and agreed that "a massive mobilization of resources including budgetary re-prioritization may be required," a statement from the presidential palace said.
As co-chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, the president also called upon party officials to contribute by setting up relief camps and reporting back on their efforts.
The statement said the effects of the floods were now "more severe in intensity and damage" than the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami or the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.
The two leaders decided to call a meeting with representatives of provincial governments and national political parties.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority, the floods have cost at least 1,384 lives so far, with over 1,000 fatalities in the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa alone.