Death toll in Pakistan floods mounts

Tuesday 03rd Aug 2010 by theWeather Club

At least 1,100 people have been killed in Pakistan's worst floods for a generation as aid workers warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe. The Pakistani government said the floods were the country’s worst since 1929 and the United Nations estimates 1 million people have been affected nationwide. Rescuers were still trying to reach 27,000 survivors trapped on high ground or clinging to rooftops after the heavy monsoon rain, and the death toll was expected to rise. Villages have been washed away and crops and infrastructure destroyed, with the government describing the destruction in the north west of the country as "massive and devastating". As evacuees arrived in makeshift camps, there were fears that disease would begin to break out before aid organisations could get resources to the area. Jane Cocking, Oxfam's humanitarian director, said: "This is a flood on a scale we have not seen in decades in Pakistan and requires an aid effort of equal measure. The extent of this crisis is only slowly emerging."

In the Swat region alone, more than 14,600 houses and 22 schools were destroyed, the government said. Spokesman Latifur Rehman said: "Whole villages have completely washed away. The destruction is massive and devastating." Major-General Athar Abbas of Pakistan’s army said: "Virtually no bridge has been left in Swat. All major and minor bridges have gone." The threat of disease increasingly looms. "There is now a real danger of the spread of waterborne diseases," said Shaharyar Bangash, the head of operations in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa for World Vision, an international humanitarian group. whose temporary bases have already seen cases of diarrhoea. The first confirmed cases of cholera have also come in from several of the affected regions.