Pakistan evacuates thousands in flooded south

KARACHI (AFP) – Pakistani authorities evacuated tens of thousands from flood-threatened areas in the south on Sunday but insisted that the 2.5 million people of Hyderabad were safe from the nation's worst-ever inundation.

The weak civilian government has faced an outpouring of fury over sluggish relief efforts, while officials are warning the country faces ruinous economic losses of up to 43 billion dollars, ahead of IMF talks this week.

The month-long floods have killed 1,500 people and affected up to 20 million nationwide, according to official tallies, with the threat of disease ever-present in the miserable camps sheltering penniless survivors.

"We are right now trying to protect Shahdadkot town, which is threatened by the rising floodwaters," Sindh provincial irrigation minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo told AFP.

He said an embankment built to protect the city was under pressure from the waters and "we are trying to save the city from the unprecedented flood".

Dharejo said the Sindh government had already escorted most of Shahdadkot's 100,000 population to safety.

"But there are still some people stranded in these villages (around Shahdadkot) and we are making efforts to rescue them," he added.

Dharejo, however, stressed there was no threat to Hyderabad, the second-largest city in Sindh and Pakistan's sixth biggest overall.

Streets were deserted and all markets shut in Shahdadkot and a group of people were seen loading their belongings into a private vehicle before leaving, an AFP photographer in the town said.

"People have migrated to safer places as they are afraid that the floodwater may inundate this town," farmer Mehram Ali told AFP.

He said the majority had gone to Larkana or Sukkur towns, adding he had come back to Shahdadkot from Larkana to see if "my town is safe".

Grocer Asghar Ali was hurriedly packing up his luggage to leave the area.

"I cannot believe my eyes when I look at the empty town, which used to hum with activity just until a few days ago," he told AFP.

The International Monetary Fund said it would meet Pakistani officials in Washington this week to discuss the impact of the floods, which have devastated the country's southern agricultural breadbasket and its textiles industry.

Millions of flood survivors in desperate need of food, shelter and clean drinking water require humanitarian assistance to survive, as concerns grow over potential cholera, typhoid and hepatitis outbreaks.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has praised the global community as emergency donations for Pakistan neared 500 million dollars, but warned the country faces "years of need".

The United States, which has made the nuclear-armed nation a key ally in the fight against Islamic extremism, has given the most, followed by Saudi Arabia and Britain.

"It is very likely that the need for donations will strongly increase because... the number of people in need of immediate humanitarian aid has risen from six to eight million," Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Islamabad, told AFP.

The UN has increased its initial estimate of the number of people without shelter from two million to six million.

"We have more than doubled the rate at which we are delivering relief but, since August 11, the number of people who need emergency shelter has undoubtedly more than tripled," Giuliano said. "We are in a race against time."

The UN World Food Programme said it urgently needed helicopters to get food to millions of flood victims who remain cut off by the high waters, although weather forecasters say the monsoon systems are easing off.

The WFP warned that the floods have killed or are threatening millions of livestock, and launched an urgent appeal for animal feed.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, has returned from a UN General Assembly's special session on Pakistan in New York, where he showed video footage depicting the unprecedented scale of the disaster, with one fifth of Pakistan -- an area larger than Italy -- still underwater.

He told a press conference in Islamabad Sunday that Foreign Ministers of 27 European Union countries would meet in Brussels next month to "discuss the flood situation and rehabilitation of people affected by floods".

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815 Comments

  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Chris 38 minutes ago Report Abuse
    Looking back, maybe it was REALLY REALLY Bad Karma, for the Pakis to carry out all those acts of Islamic terrorism on innocent non-combatant onlookers, all done in the name of the World's First Terrorist, Pedo Mohammed, and his Arabic Disease of Islam.

    Fool Pakis, you are all the desendants of converted Hindus, and now you are ignorantly and blindly worshipping the very Arab invaders, who had raped and murdered your own valiant Hindu ancestors. You are foolishly carrying out senseless acts of terrorism, in your attempts to propagate the very Arabic disease, that was fonce orced upon your valiant Hindu ancestors by the invading Arab barbarians.

    Recover from your mass-amnesia and your Stockholm-Syndrome, cure yourselves of the imported Arabic disease, and joyously reclaim the glorious heritage of your own Hindu forefathers. Maybe there is hope for you Pakis yet.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    jai 53 minutes ago Report Abuse
    @Arshad Maqsood

    It's Pakistan not India that still has the time for hate during these floods. Wikipedia article on Pakistan floods written by Pakistanis specifically says, "India was the last to help" while it praises other countries for help.

    Pakistan didnot give Visas for Indian journalists to cover the story to raise awareness in India about the Pakistan floods and then you get up and criticise India for not responding in time. It's trivial acts like these by the Pakistani establishment that destroy India Pakistan relations.

    India has given $5 million and there are still 400 Indian doctors still waiting for a Pakistani visa to help out the poor in Pakistan. That is India's generosity after Pakistan has been sponsoring terrorism in India for over 20 years. 26/11 is still fresh in people's memory in India.

    Why are those doctors not being given Visas? It's the Pakistani government who is not concerned about the suffering of the flood victims by not giving Indian doctors visas and then you people turn around and spread the hate again just like your Pakistan government. It's you people who have a messed up thinking, not India.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    Arshad Maqsood 1 hour ago Report Abuse
    I think we have to help those people. The people who speake too much and objecting to others, i dont think they are helping to any other person just raising fingars on other by saying, the people are not good, Govt. is not good, they are this they are that.
    Can you all please answer to one of my Question?

    How much you help to theses people???

    Ok leave it because they are Pakistanies and most of the people who commented here are Indian and i knwo very well they will not help to Pakistanies any way.

    Can you people tell me how much you your self help for Sonami People?
    How much you help for Earth Queqe people in Indian Kashmir in your own country?
    How much you help to Indonasian people during earth queqe in Indonesia?
    How much you help to Heithi people' Earth Queqe?
    How much you people help to African people? untill now they are dyeing because they dont have supply of food and water.

    You people are not doing any thing for any one.
    Just comenting on other people......
    Just raising hands on other............
    Just objecting to others.........

    Tell me only one thing you all above people?
    How much you help to others???????????????
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Mo 1 hour ago Report Abuse
    Floods will continue in direct proportion to the chances of getting more aid money.
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    Jeona 7 hours ago Report Abuse
    PAKISTAN WARNS WHO?
    .
    .
    US , UN ,INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OR THERE OWN PEOPLE.
  • 3 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Ken 7 hours ago Report Abuse
    Where is Ala when you need him ?
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    LeoLeo 10 hours ago Report Abuse
    Don't worry guys, Pakistan is getting back to normal. Haven't you read about the suicide bombing a couple of days back?
  • 4 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    john 15 hours ago Report Abuse
    i say take all the women and children, bring them to america, and napalm the hell out of the rest of them..
  • 6 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this comment
    s 16 hours ago Report Abuse
    something is wrong with these paki/porki thinking

    One hand they talk big and the other hand is stretched a mile long begging for food, aid as their pathetic country has no momey no infrastructure to cope with this disaster. their leaders are busy touring Europe when this is happening.

    THEY ARE A NUCLEAR POWERED BEGGARS. I think it has to do with the terrorist culture and their famous Madrassa education, which makes these paki/porki terrorists demented.
  • 3 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this comment
    sanjay Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:42 pm PDT Report Abuse
    HI
    well how much we all condemn the gov or other country for not doing anything or enough to the people who are suffering is no use. these people are used to it ready for these people this is THE GOLDEN chance to make MONEY. they have a saying "why care for the people let them suffering and they will find solution themself" this is our chance to make money WHY LET IT PASS? WELL I HOPE ALL THE PEOPLE CAN GET BACK TO THEIRE HOME SOON ITS REALLY VERRY VERRY SAD TO LOOSE A HOME

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