New York, NY (BBN)– The United Nations is seeking a further half billion dollars or more for 21 million Pakistanis beset by weeks of flooding, which a top official said was spawning a new disaster every day.
“It will be substantially more than the original appeal,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos told a news conference in New York on Wednesday, a month after the UN and its humanitarian partners sought nearly $460 million in a first response to what she called “an immense and still unfolding crisis.”
She declined to disclose the exact figure of the appeal until its official launch on Friday to respond to the devastating impact of the rolling floods which, though they have killed fewer than 2,000 people, have exposed 21 million others to homelessness, malnutrition, risks of epidemics and loss of livelihood as the waters have steamrollered down the country from north to south.
Different parts of the country are experiencing different stages of the crisis “and each of these is a big disaster in its own right,” she said. In some areas the waters have receded and the relief effort is focusing on early recovery, while in others to the south the floods are still spreading “and a new disaster is happening literally every day.”
Ms. Amos, who visited the flood-stricken areas last week, underscored the expanding requirements. “This is a disaster which is bigger than one which the UN can deal with alone. It’s bigger than the humanitarian community can deal with on its own. It’s one of the biggest disasters we have ever faced… We can and we must continue to save lives and alleviate suffering,” she said.
As of September 10 this year more than 700,000 cases of acute diarrhoea, at least 800,000 acute respiratory infections, nearly 1 million cases of skin disease and almost 183,000 suspected malaria cases were reported, a UN statement said.
Meanwhile UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, whose agency (UNHCR) also provides assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), is on a two-day visit to flood-devastated areas.
BBN/SI/AD-16Sept10-11:18 am (BST)