UN warns south Pakistan flood aid facing huge obstacles

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Fresh floods in southern Pakistan are snaring at least a million people displaced by earlier flooding, adding to the huge problems faced by the underfunded relief effort, UN aid agencies warned Friday.

"Major constraints continue to hamper rescue operations, making it impossible to deliver aid at the necessary speed," United Nations spokeswoman Corinne Momal-Vanian said, pointing to the huge scale of the disaster.

The UN's Organisation for Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it was increasingly concerned by the situation in southern Sindh and Baluchistan provinces.

"There are one million displaced people in Baluchistan who fled Sindh, so these are perpetual movements of displaced people, bringing them help is more and more difficult," said OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs.

Byrs said there was an urgent need for shelter, food and clean water, yet funding for the international relief was "stagnant."

The UN has received just 291 million of the 460 million dollars in funding it has appealed for, with a likely increase in the overall appeal due on September 17, Byrs underlined.

Those financial constraints were adding to the logistical obstacles "since some sectors are not receiving the necessary contributions, especially water and sanitation," she warned.

The UN refugee agency said conditions in Baluchistan were "really desperate."

"We are seeing a persistent threat of waterborne disease, shortages of shelter and very limited quantities of food for children in southern Sindh," Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said.

Some 18 million people are affected by the flooding in an area larger than the size of England, according to the UN.

© 2010 AFP

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