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Nearly 300 dead in Pakistani floods as UN appeals for urgent aid

Reuters/Akram Shahid

Nearly 300 people have died in floods in Pakistan’s Sindh province and 274,000 are believed to be stranded without emergency shelter. The UN and Pakistan have jointly appealed for 259 million euros in emergency aid.

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Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has put off a visit to the UN General Assembly to visit the area this weekend and monitor the aid effort.

A year after the worst-ever floods in Pakistan’s history, all 23 districts of Sindh are reported to be under water again.

The estimated 5.8 million affected is far lower than the 21 million hit in 2010 but the rescue effort is again coming under fire for not matching up to the challenge.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

At least 248 people had died by Saturday, officials told The News newspaper, and over 415,000 were living at relief sites.

The army claimed to have rescued over 100,000 marooned people and the navy had evacuated 11,000 but over a quarter of a million people are believed still to be stranded by the floodwaters.

Gilani has formed a high-level committee to supervise relied and rehousing and asked the UN to issue a new appeal for donations.

China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, the European Commission, Germany and the US have promised aid, as has the UK-based Muslim charity, the Ummah Welfare Trust.

A local politician and two guards employed at a factory belonging to him have been charged with murder after a 15-year-old boy was shot dead outside a warehouse storing relief aid. The victim, Ghulam Hussain, was killed when flood survivors tried to storm the warehouse and guards working for provincial assembly member Rana Sattar reportedly opened fire, according to Dawn newspaper.

The floods in figures

According to Pakistani officials at the weekend:

  • Nearly 300 people have died;
  • About 5.74 million people have been affected;
  • About 925,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed;
  • An estimated 425,195 people are living in about 2,656 relief sites;
  • At least 274,000 families are without shelter;
  • More than 80,000 head of livestock have been drowned;
  • Crops, including cotton, banana, dates, chilli and sugarcane, on 2,800,000 acres have been affected;
  • About 31,960 villages have been affected.

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