|Eintime Conversion for education and research 10-20-2007 @
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Floods leave 1 million homeless in Pakistan
By Zarar Kahn, Associated Press Writer
KARACHI, Pakistan Pakistan called on the international community to rush aid to some 1 million people left homeless by massive flooding amid forecasts Monday that still more rain would be dumped on the stricken areas in coming days.
Floods due to a cyclone and rain since June 23 have left as many as 211 people dead in two provinces of southern Pakistan, a senior relief official said Monday, but unofficial estimates are considerably higher.
Some 500 people have died across the subcontinent in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan since the start of the monsoon season in early June.
Following a two-day tour of the flooded area Sunday, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz asked for relief and rehabilitation aid from foreign countries, international agencies and private donors.
He said more helicopters would be added to army efforts to ferry food, medicine and other relief supplies to areas of Baluchistan province which was hit by Cyclone Yemyin last Tuesday.
The military said Pakistani and Chinese engineers had reopened the Karakoram Highway, which runs between the two countries. The road link was severed by heavy, rain-spawned landslides near the 15,528-foot Khunjrab Pass.
The flooding also has spread in recent days into adjacent Sindh province to the east, where some 20,000 people were rendered homeless in Shahdad Kot district after waters from a canal spilled over protective embankments, provincial relief commissioner Munir Ahmed said Monday.
Tariq Ayub, Baluchistan's home secretary, who is overseeing the flood relief operation, said many of the casualties occurred due to drowning and people getting trapped under the debris of their collapsing homes in 13 hardest-hit Baluchistan districts.
Among the dead were 42 people who drowned Saturday in a stream flooded by rains and waters from a breached dam in Khuzdar district, Ayub said.
He said more than 100 other people were missing in the area.
The state-run Pakistan Meteorological Department forecast "widespread heavy rains" and storms in both Sindh and Baluchistan over the next four days.
Farooq Ahmed Khan, who heads Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, said 211 people died in the two provinces 111 in Baluchistan and 100 in Sindh, mainly in Karachi, the provincial capital.
But local relief workers in Karachi say that at least 228 died in Karachi on June 23.
Khan said some 204 people are missing, including 29 fishermen in Sindh.
Relief efforts were expected to continue over the next three months after which rehabilitation work would start, he said.
In the Baluchistan city of Turbat, one of the worst-affected areas, doctors reported an influx of patients, many of them children, suffering from nausea, diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.
"They are drinking contaminated water," said Abdul Qadir, one of the physicians.
(Original Len: 3338 Condensed Len: 3417)
10-20-2007 @ 07:24:18