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Pakistan

UN chief urges world to speed up Pakistan aid

Reuters

UN chief Ban Ki-moon flew into flood-ravaged Pakistan on Sunday and urged the world to intensify aid efforts for up to 20 million people. The United Nations has appealed for 460 million dollars to deal with the immediate aftermath of the floods - but has warned that billions are needed over the long-term.

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Aid groups say the response to the international appeal has been sluggish, warning of a second wave of death from disease.

Villages, businesses, crops and infrastructure have been wiped out, and officials estimate that a quarter of Pakistan is affected by the flooding.

While in the country, Ban will visit affected areas, and meet with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, and President Asif Ali Zardari, whose handling of the crisis has been widely criticised.

He said he would report back to the UN General Assembly first thing this week and "we will try to mobilise all necessary assistance and remember that the whole world is behind the people of Pakistan in this time of trial".

Pakistan's weak civilian government has appealed to the international community to help cope with the challenges of a crisis that Gilani has compared to the 1947 partition of the sub-continent.

Some of the worst-hit areas are in the volatile northwest, where Taliban militants have been locked in fighting with Pakistani troops, and the wealthiest and agriculturally most important areas of Punjab and Sindh.

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