Red Cross quadruples aid appeal for Pakistan survivors

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The Red Cross on Thursday more than quadrupled its aid appeal for survivors of devastating floods in Pakistan to meet growing humanitarian needs.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said in a statement that it had increased its emergency appeal to donors for 75,8 million Swiss francs (73.6 million dollars, 57.2 million euros) for what it called a "superflood".

The federation had initially appealed for 17 million francs on August 2.

"The world cannot ignore the crisis in Pakistan," said Bekele Geleta, the federation's secretary general, who was recently in Pakistan.

"This is one of the worst disasters I have ever witnessed. Millions of people need help, we must all work together to meet the huge challenges that lie before us," he added.

The federation is aiming to help the Pakistan Red Crescent Society provide over 900,000 people with tents and shelter kits, medical care, clean water and improved sanitation, as well as help to restore livelihoods in the coming months.

Some 7.5 million people have been severely hit by one of the world's biggest disasters, which has left about 1,500 people dead, according to UN agencies.

The UN Children's Fund is aiming to triple its aid appeal, a senior UNICEF official said earlier Thursday, despite a slow response from donors.

Pakistan Red Crescent Secretary General Muhammad Ilyas Khan said prevention was vital to counter health threats such as waterborne diseases.

"Even cholera doesn't have to be fatal; the key is to spot it early and intervene rapidly," he added.

More than 300,000 people have received relief aid so far from the Pakistan Red Crescent, which has 130,000 volunteers, the statement said.

© 2010 AFP

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