Pakistan braces second wave of trouble
UN warns more deaths:
PAKISTAN: The United Nations appealed Wednesday for $459 million in
aid for flood-hit Pakistan, warning of a second wave of death among
sick, hungry survivors unless help arrived quickly.
Roiling floods triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rain have scoured
Pakistanís Indus river basin, killing more than 1,600 people, forcing 2
million from their homes and disrupting the lives of about 14 million
people, or 8 percent of the population.
President Asif Ali Zardari, whose government has come in for harsh
criticism for its perceived sluggish response to the disaster, defended
a decision to travel abroad as the floods began, saying he helped focus
international attention on the plight of the victims.
The floods, the worst in the region in 80 years, have raised fears
for the prospects of the nuclear-armed US ally already battling a deadly
Islamist militancy. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday
the US military was tripling the number of helicopters in Pakistan to 19
from six and sending in a landing platform to be used off the coast of
Karachi, Pakistanís biggest city.
Washington, which had already committed $55 million to Pakistani
flood relief efforts, also announced it was contributing a further $16.2
million to the UN refugee agency and IRC for emergency assistance to
flood victims. Aid agencies have complained of a lackluster donor
response to the crisis, while a UN spokesman said help was needed soon.