Six million Pakistani flood victims need aid to survive: UN

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The UN said on Tuesday that aid for Pakistan's flood victims would focus on the survival needs of six million people, as it prepared to ramp up the relief effort with an international appeal for funds.

"We are focusing for now on six million people who are in need of direct humanitarian assistance, meaning that they need it to survive," said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Byrs said the figure of 14 million affected was a broader measure given by Pakistani authorities that included the direct and indirect impact of the country's worst flooding for 80 years, extending from the homeless to longer term damage such as crop losses or loss of earnings.

UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes will launch the international appeal for funds in New York on Wednesday, along with Pakistani officials, Byrs said.

She told AFP that the number of victims targeted by the appeal had yet to be finalised.

But it is likely to be among one of the biggest relief efforts in the UN's history in terms of the number of people in need.

OCHA officials have said the disaster eclipsed the scale of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti put together.

Byrs said about five million people were targeted by aid in the Indian Ocean tsunami, while the estimated 280,000 homes destroyed in Pakistan rivalled the numbers seen in Haiti's devastating quake.

© 2010 AFP

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