Aid arrives for Pakistan, but still too slowly: UN

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International aid is starting to arrive for flood-hit Pakistan, but too slowly for relief agencies which are running out of resources to deal with the disaster that has hit millions, UN agencies said Tuesday.

"After the appeal of the Secretary General of the UN, which seems to have been heard, we are moving in the right direction ... donors, the international community is being mobilised," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The appeal for 460 million dollars launched on August 11 by the United Nations has received 35 percent of required financing, she said, adding that it had reached just 20 percent on Monday morning.

However, the 161 million dollars received so far is far from sufficient to cope with the historic floods which according to Pakistani authorities has directly affected 14 million people in the south Asian country.

"There is progress, but that does not mean that it is perfect," said Byrs, noting for instance that only 13 percent of required funding for health provisions has been met.

The World Food Programme warned that "food stock for September are under significant pressure."

Meanwhile a spokesman for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Marco Jimenez, said a lack of funds would led to a delay in assistance, which in turn could lead to "an increased risk of a new wave of deaths caused by water borne diseases."

Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees also warned that "our supplies are dwindling."

"We need more airlifts and massive amounts of funding to meet the still unfolding crisis," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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