Tutu, Annan call for faster response to Pakistan floods

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a group of senior figures known as the Elders on Thursday urged the international community to respond more quickly to the severe flooding in Pakistan.

Tutu and other members of the Elders including founder Nelson Mandela, former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan and former US president Jimmy Carter expressed concern that only half of the UN's 460-million-dollar (360-million-euro) emergency appeal target had been reached.

"I urge people all around the world to hold the people of Pakistan in their hearts and in the heart of the human family at this time," Tutu said in a statement.

"We should respond to their suffering just as we responded so generously to the tsunami in 2004 and the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. This is a disaster on a comparable scale -- and may potentially be even worse.

"Let us not for a moment allow ourselves to feel that some are less deserving of our help than others.

"It is time for us to stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan. Please give generously and help to share their enormous burden as they struggle to recover."

Critics have slammed the humanitarian response to the flooding as too slow.

The UN estimated on Thursday that 4.6 million survivors of the floods are still without shelter and said it needs to provide six million people with tents and plastic sheeting.

© 2010 AFP

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