Struggling aid agencies urge relief boost for Pakistan
Struggling aid agencies on Friday urged donor nations to rush through 460 million dollars in aid for Pakistan's devastating flood, warning of a potential "second wave" of deaths due to disease.
Relief aid was lagging far behind the needs of millions of victims, UN agencies and the Red Cross admitted, as the United Nations briefed diplomats in Geneva about the emergency appeal launched on Wednesday.
"There are millions of people needing food clean water and medical care and they need it right now. Coordination is fine, action is even better," said Jacques de Maio, head of operations for South Asia at the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"Clearly at this point in time the overall relief effort cannot keep pace with the overall scale of the emergency," he told journalists
Humanitarian agencies in Pakistan were keeping close watch on the risk of "a second wave of deaths induced by the floods in the shape of waterborne diseases," de Maio added.
The World Health Organisation said that of the 140,000 people who sought treatment on Monday, 15 involved cases of acute watery diarrhoea.
De Maio said the growing risk had to be dealt with from the onset of the huge relief effort.
The United Nations believes 1,600 people have died, while Islamabad has confirmed 1,343 deaths.
The UN Organisation for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has so far collected 147 million dollars for the appeal, with another 87 million pledged.
"Currently the appeal is 20 percent financed," said OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs, adding that the relief effort was accelerating.
However, the ICRC gave warning of the unsounded scale of the disaster directly or indirectly affecting an estimated 15 million to 20 million people, according to Pakistan.
"We have to a acknowledge our ignorance and the impossibility at this point to measure with precision the full magnitude and scope... of this catastrophe," de Maio said.
The International Organisation for Migration, which in charge of shelter, is aiming to provide emergency help for 300,000 families -- about two million people.
IOM spokesman Jared Bloch said that tents and shelter equipment had been delivered for less than a quarter of that number.
© 2010 AFP