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Asia-Pacific

Wake up world, says Pakistani MP as flood aid trickles in

media A Pakistani flood-victim Photo: Reuters

Pakistan needs the world’s commitment focused on it 24/7 for the next three months if the country is to be “pulled out of the most acute risks facing it in the history of it's survival”, the country’s former Information Minister Sherry Rehman said on Friday.

It's a humanitarian disaster of an epic scale that the region has not seen in over a 100 years

Interview: Sherry Rehman 20/08/2010 - by Salil Sarkar Listen

“The world has been very slow to grasp the magnitude of this very biblical disaster. It’s bigger than Katrina, bigger than Haiti, bigger than the earthquake Pakistan faced a few years ago," Rehman told RFI. "It presents an imminent threat to Pakistan’s stability as well as to all the national security challenges it was already facing.”

Her comments follow Pakistan’s announcement that it will accept flood aid from it's neighbour India, saying the offer was a "very welcome initiative."

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday that Islamabad would take India's offer of five million dollars which was made last Friday.

"I can share with you that the government of Pakistan has agreed to accept

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

the Indian offer," Qureshi said from New York during a UN General Assembly session to boost aid for flood victims.

India and Pakistan have made moves in recent months to rebuild relations, which were badly strained by the Mumbai 2008 terror attacks, which Indian blamed on militants from Pakistan.

The US urged Pakistan earlier this week to accept the Indian offer and not let rivalry stand in the way of helping it's citizens in flooded regions.

Pakistan will also ask the International Monetary Fund to ease the terms of a 10 billion dollar loan provided in 2008, when the country struggled to cope with attacks by Islamic militants, high inflation and fast-depleting currency reserves.

What India and Pakistan don't agree on

The economic damage caused by the floods amounts to at least 43 billion dollars, according to Qureshi.

Pakistan's Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh will travel to Washington next week to try and persuade the IMF to restructure the current loan or consider new financing.

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