|Cholera confirmed as UN chief
to tour Pakistan floods
– Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said
Saturday 20 million people had been affected by the
worst floods in the country’s history as the UN
confirmed the first cholera case.
Independence Day celebrations were cancelled as
floods continued to bring misery to millions and aid
agencies warned of a “second wave” of deaths from
“The floods affected some 20 million people,
destroyed standing crops and food storages worth
billions of dollars, causing colossal loss to
national economy,” Gilani said in a televised
address to the nation.
“I would appeal to the world community to extend
a helping hand to fight this calamity.”
The United Nations has appealed for 460 million
dollars to deal with the immediate aftermath of the
floods but charities say the figure falls far short
of what is needed.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive
in Pakistan later Saturday to discuss the relief
effort and visit flood-hit areas.
“This is the worst-ever calamity for us and the
entire nation will have to show courage to face it,”
Gilani said, adding”, I am pretty confidant that the
nation will once again emerge victorious from this
“Outbreak of epidemics in the flood-hit areas is a
serious threat, which can further compound the
already grave situation,” Gilani added, as the UN
authorities confirmed the first cholera case.
“There has been at least one cholera confirmed
case in Mingora,” Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for
the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, told AFP,
referring to the main town in the northwestern
district of Swat.
Giuliano said at least 36,000 people were reportedly
suffering from acute watery diarrhoea.
“We’re not suggesting that everyone who has acute
watery diarrhoea has cholera, but cholera is
certainly a concern and that’s why we’re stepping up
our efforts to treat cholera,” he said.
Charities said relief for those affected by the
worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history was
lagging far behind what was needed.
“There are millions of people needing food, clean
water and medical care and they need it right now,”
said Jacques de Maio, head of operations for South
Asia at the International Committee of the Red Cross
“Clearly at this point in time the overall relief
effort cannot keep pace with the overall scale of
the emergency.” he said.