U.N. Warns Of Diseases In Pakistan

The United Nations warned Monday that 3.5 million Pakistani children were at risk from cholera and other diseases because of the slow and inadequate delivery of flood relief, as raging waters from the bloated Indus river marooned dozens more villages. Hundreds of thousands of survivors are still cut off from rescue more than two weeks after Pakistan's worst-ever flooding hit the country, killing at least 1,500 people. Many survivors are forced to drink contaminated drinking water, relief workers said. The death toll could rise from disease and hunger if the aid effort is not stepped up, the U.N. warned. "Up to 3.5 million children are at high risk of deadly water-borne diseases including diarrhea-related diseases," said Maurizio Giuliano, a U.N. spokesman. He put the total number of people, including adults, at risk from such diseases at six million. "What concerns us the most is water and health. There is a shortage of clean water," he added. More than 20 million people have been affected by the flooding, which started in the country's mountainous north and expanded to the southern and western provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. According to the U.N., one-fifth of the country is now under water and some 900,000 people are homeless. Thousands of towns and villages have been washed away. Roads, buildings, bridges and crops have been lost. While local charities and international agencies have helped hundreds of thousands of people with food, water, shelter and medical treatment, the scale of the disaster has meant many millions have received little or no assistance. "Communities desperately need clean water, latrines and hygiene supplies, but the resources currently available cover only a fraction of what is required," said Neva Khan, Oxfam's country director in Pakistan. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon flew to Pakistan over the weekend amid concerns about an inadequate international response to the U.N. emergency aid appeal. Only a quarter of the $459 million aid