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Gilani: 20 Million Affected by Pakistan's Floods

Source: VOA

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Saturday that 20 million people have been affected by the worst floods in his country's history. The figure is much higher than previous United Nations estimates of 14 million.

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Mr. Gilani was speaking in a televised address to the nation as Pakistan held a scaled down observance of the anniversary of its independence.

Authorities say the floods have killed some 1,600 people and destroyed or damaged more than 700,000 homes.

Officials also confirmed the first case of cholera in Mingora, in the northwestern district of Swat. Other cases of the deadly disease are suspected.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who was widely criticized for his trip to Europe during the disaster, will spend Saturday visiting flood-hit areas.

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to tour Pakistan's flood-hit areas to demonstrate the support of the international community.

International aid agencies said Friday the scale of the floods is staggering and they are accelerating their response.

As much as 50 percent of the country has been inundated, causing loss of crops and in some areas, 80 percent of farm livestock reportedly has been lost.

The U.N. says it has received 20 percent of the $460 million it has requested in emergency aid.

Washington has already provided more than $76 million in relief aid to Pakistan. U.S. helicopters have evacuated 4,000 people and delivered close to 170 tons of relief supplies.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the floods may have caused $1 billion in damage to crops, creating a long-term challenge for the Pakistani economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 08/14/10 ... --

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