UN Seeks $460 Million For Pakistan Flood Victims

"The United Nations appealed Wednesday for nearly $460 million in emergency aid for victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan. U.N. Humanitarian Chief John Holmes said the money is needed to help the more than 14 million people affected by the flooding during the next 90 days. The heavy monsoon rains started wreaking havoc in Pakistan last month, ravaging several provinces as rivers overflowed their banks and torrential rains swept away homes, infrastructure, crops, and livestock. The floods have claimed at least 1,600 lives and left nearly two million people homeless. John Holmes told U.N. member states the assessment of losses and damages is still under way, but it is already very clear that these are the worst floods in Pakistan for more than 80 years. ""While the overall death toll from this disaster has been relatively low compared with large numbers of people the government estimates to have been affected, unless aid activities are rapidly scaled up to reach those who remain displaced and without immediate access to food and clean drinking water, additional loss of human lives and further suffering will occur,"" said Holmes. He warned the risk of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera, are particularly high. Martin Mogwanja, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, said that the World Health Organization has already recorded high levels of gastroenteritis and acute watery diarrhea. There is also concern there may be a cholera outbreak."