More Rain, Gushing Flood Waters Threaten Pakistanis

Intense rain and gushing flood waters threatened Wednesday to cause more misery in monsoon-bloated Pakistan, where 3 million people are already suffering. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Americans to donate to relief efforts, saying that experience in post-earthquake Haiti showed that small donations can make a big difference. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appealed to residents to curtail expenditures for Ramadan feasts and upcoming independence day celebrations and contribute instead to help their desperate compatriots. As many as 1,500 people have died in Pakistan's worst flooding in 70 years. Relief agencies were struggling to reach people who have lost everything to walls of water. Many were cut off after roads and bridges washed away. Thousands of others were people already displaced by violence in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, according to the United Nations refugee agency. The flooding also washed away tens of thousands of homes, devastated livestock and swept away farm land. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said it has distributed 10,000 tents so far, along with other relief supplies which have assisted some 50,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.Speaking to reporters in Washington, Clinton stressed the importance of U.S. assistance to Pakistan, a strategically important country whose relationship with Washington continues to be a work on progress. The Obama administration is looking to turn the natural disaster into opportunity, hoping a robust response to the crisis will help improve its poor image among a skeptical Pakistani public.