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More helicopters needed as 800,000 cut-off by Pakistan floods

media Ashraf, aged 4 years old, eats bread at the Al Mujahid Army Relief Campin, … Photo: Reuters / Akhtar Soomro

Pakistan continues to battle devastating floods on Wednesday as the United Nations warns that 800,000 people in need of aid have been cut off by the waters. The UN is requesting more helicopters while 1,500 people have been confirmed dead by Pakistani authorities.

“We have requested that the government of Pakistan increase the number of helicopters that are currently with the World Food Programme,” Amjad Jamal, a spokesperson for WFP told RFI.

“Currently we have only eight helicopters that are doing food distribution and carrying food to the cut-off valleys and cut-off areas.”

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

“There’s no help, there’s not any government workers,” Iftikhar Ali Shah, a journalist in Naundero, in Larkana district, Sindh province, told RFI. “There’s not fresh water here at present […] we also need formula for children."

More than 17 million people have been affected by the catastrophe with five million still homeless. And there are warnings that Sindh province could be at risk of further flooding in the coming days.

An estimated 800,000 people are only accessible by air as flood water triggered by monsoon rains washed away bridges and crucial access roads. It is thought 40 heavy-lift helicopters are needed.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from areas close to Hyderabad. Near some suburbs the river has swelled from its usual 200 to 300 metres width, to more than three kilometres.

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