Pakistan ambassador to Ireland in aid plea

Sunday 22 August 2010 21.48
1 of 2
Naghmana Hashmi - Warning over fate of people affected by floods
Naghmana Hashmi - Warning over fate of people affected by floods
Pakistan - Millions in need of humanitarian aid
Pakistan - Millions in need of humanitarian aid

Pakistan's Ambassador to Ireland has said if the world does not send aid quickly enough there will be a major humanitarian disaster and millions of people could die.

Speaking on RTE’s This Week, Her Excellency Mrs Naghmana Hashmi described the flooding as a ‘global disaster’ and said millions of people were in danger of immediate starvation and disease.

Mrs Hashmi said 20 million people were displaced by the flooding, and one in ten was destitute.

Trócaire's regional manager in Pakistan, Paul Healy, said the situation in the south was very desperate.

He said there was not enough food in the country and Trócaire was trying to access food and medicines to bring into Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has called for an urgent meeting of health officials, provincial leaders and aid agencies to coordinate efforts against the spread of disease in flood hit areas of the country.

The move follows public criticism of the government's handling of the disaster to date.

Tens of thousands more people are still being moved to safety as flood waters continue to deluge the southern province of Sindh.

The International Monetary Fund is to hold talks with Pakistani officials in Washington tomorrow to assess how it can help the country.

Pakistan is reportedly ready to ask the IMF to ease the terms of a $10bn loan, which since 2008 has helped to prop up the enfeebled economy.

Millions of flood survivors in desperate need of food, shelter and clean drinking water meanwhile require humanitarian assistance to survive, as concerns grow over potential cholera, typhoid and hepatitis outbreaks.

Yesterday, six flood victims, including three women and two children, were killed and 25 others injured after being electrocuted in the Kashmore district of Sindh.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has praised the global community as emergency donations for Pakistan neared $500m, but warned the flood-stricken nation faces ‘years of need’.

The US has given the most, followed by Saudi Arabia and Britain.