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Asia-Pacific

2.5 million people affected by floods in Pakistan

media A boy hangs on to the front of a cargo truck while passing through a flooded … Reuters

Fears are growing about outbreaks of disease among 2.5 million people affected by Pakistan's worst floods in 80 years after monsoon rains killed up to 1,500 people across the northwest.

Unprecedented rains triggered floods and landslides, sweeping away thousands of homes and devastating farmland in one of Pakistan's most impoverished regions, already hard hit by years of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked violence.

Pakistani officials warn that a lack of drinking water is spreading disease, including cholera, and say they are working to medivac people from affected areas such as Swat, the scene last year of an offensive against the Taliban.

The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that up to 2.5 million people across Pakistan have been affected by the flooding. "In the worst-affected areas, entire villages were washed away without warning by walls of flood water," it said in a statement, noting that thousands of people "have lost everything."

Aid workers and Pakistan's military conducted what relief efforts they could as officials warned that the death toll was rising. "There are 774 deaths registered with us, but the total number killed in the flood is 1,200 to 1,500," Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for northwest province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told a news conference in Peshawar.

Syed Zahir Ali Shah, health minister for the province, said about 100,000 people, mostly children, were suffering from illnesses such as Gastroenteritis.

 

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