Pakistan flood victims protest amidst more flood warnings
Hundreds of starving refugees protested Monday in the central province of Punjab and southern Sindh province, as authorities warned of more floods and efforts were underway to save a major city in southern Pakistan, dpa reported
Aid workers and officials struggled to provide relief to 20 million victims, including 6 million children, but the process has been slow due to bad weather and destroyed roads and bridges.
Dozens of refugees demonstrated in the Kot Addu area of central Punjab, chanting slogans against authorities and demanding delivery of relief goods.
"We are getting nothing and we have nothing with us but the clothes we were wearing when we were forced by the rising waters to run away from the homes," one protestor said. Others around him shouted in a chorus, "We need help!"
Further south in the Sukkur district of Sindh province, victims also protested for aid and denouncing official lethargy.
Authorities warned of more floods as the monsoon continues, aggravating human misery and checking the limits of the aid agencies to help the victims.
Meteorological department chief Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry said a second wave of floods on the Indus River had reached Sindh and threatened to swamp more areas.
"This second wave is around 1 million cusecs (28,320 cubic metres per second) to 1.1 million cusecs (31,152 cubic metres per second)," he said.
The swollen Indus River has submerged thousands of villages in Sindh, and the city of Jacobabad was threatened by the floods.
"We are working hard to divert the water from Jacobabad," said Ijaz Jakhrani, a federal minister visiting the area 400 kilometres from the provincial capital Karachi.
Nearly one-quarter of the city's 300,000 residents had already moved out, and an army airbase was also under flood threat. Jacobabad was surrounded by water and several telecommunications installations were damaged or destroyed.
More than 700,000 houses and over 3.2 million hectares of standing crops have been destroyed or damaged.
Officials believe the country has suffered billion of dollars of losses due to damages to the infrastructure, crops, livestock and private property, making it impossible for impoverish Pakistan to compensate it.
The United Nations has appealed for 460 million dollars for emergency assistance for some 6 million affected people, which Qureshi said will be "reviewed after one month".
UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who visited Pakistan on Sunday to see the disaster, said after visiting the flooded areas, "This has been a heart-wrenching day for me."
Urging the world community to do more for Pakistan flood vicitms, an overwhelmed Ban said, "In the past I have visited many natural disasters around the world but nothing like this."
He promised to support Pakistan at the UN where a General Assembly session has been called for August 19 to discuss the situation in Pakistan.