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Asia-Pacific

Tens of thousands moved from flood danger in south Pakistan

media Villagers struggle in Muzaffargarh district, Punjab province Reuters

Pakistani authorities are moving tens of thousands from areas threatened by floods in the south of the country. International aid pledges have now exceeded the UN’s appeal, according to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

After a sluggish start, promises of aid had more than doubled to 800 million dollars (630 million euros) by Friday and more are expected to come in, according to Qureshi, who is in New York for the General Assembly.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

 

Over half of the donations came just from three donors - the European Union (142 million euros), the US (118 million euros) and the UK (80 million euros).

As the floods affect more and more of the southern provinces of Balochistan and Sindh, three towns in Thatta district were in danger of flooding, Dawn newspaper reports. Thousands were marooned in Gandakha town on Saturday, facing shortages of food, drinking water and medicines, on Sunday, the paper says, while broken dykes are threatening Shahdadkot town.

The month-long floods have killed 1,500 people and affected up to 20 million, according to official figures. The UN has increased its initial estimate of the number of people affected from two million to six million. Concern is growing over possible outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and hepatitis.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to meet Pakistani officials in Washington this week. Pakistan is expected to ask the IMF to ease the terms of its 100-billion-dollar (eight-billion-euro) loan contracted in 2008.

"The scale of the tragedy means that the country’s budget and macroeconomic prospects, which are being supported by an IMF financed programme, will [...] need to be reviewed," a statement issued on Saturday by Masood Ahmed, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, said.

 

 

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