WFP calls for helicopters to bring food to Pakistan victims

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The World Food Programme said Friday it urgently needs helicopters to get food to millions of flood victims in Pakistan who remain cut off by the high waters.

"At the moment we're recognising that there's a real massive need for a boost in air delivery capacity immediately to reach the people who remain cut off and those who are going to continue to be affected in the weeks to come," said Emilia Casella, spokeswoman for the UN food agency.

The UN food agency had managed to secure another five choppers which would be put into service Friday, bringing the total number of helicopters in use to 15.

Casella did not have a figure of how many more are needed, but said: "You could bring in a lot of helicopters and we will use them all."

"We need the helicopters now at this stage," she added, pointing out that they are essential at the moment as roads remain cut off by flood waters.

The agency has managed to get one-month food rations to 1.2 million flood victims, but Casella noted that the figure was far from the agency's target of six million.

Nearly 1,500 people have been killed by the devastating floods, and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Wednesday that 20 million people also have been affected.

© 2010 AFP

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