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World

UN makes record appeal for aid for Pakistan

The United Nations made its largest disaster appeal ever on Friday, requesting a total of some $2 billion (1.5 billion euros) for Pakistan where floods continue to devastate the country.

Pakistani women and children wait to be given a fresh meal at a camp for families displaced by floods run by the Pakistan Air Force

The UN money is meant to prevent widespread malnutrition

The United Nations requested an additional $1.6 billion (1.2 billion euros) in aid for Pakistan on Friday, bringing the total aid request to $2 billion. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the ongoing floods as "the worst natural disaster the United Nations has responded to in its 65-year history."

The UN said it was the largest disaster appeal it had ever made, topping the $1.5 billion in aid for victims of the January earthquake in Haiti.

"We are seeing the equivalent of a new disaster every few days in Pakistan," said Valerie Amos, the UN's humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator. "Our task is to give people the help they need."

Looming epidemics

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the money would be used to meet the needs of 14 million people over the next 12 months. It said the aid would buy food, set up emergency camps and reconstruct drinking water and sanitation infrastructure.

An aerial view of the flooding in the province of Punjab, near the city of Multan in Pakistan

Flooding has damaged or destroyed some 1.9 million homes

One in 10 Pakistanis has been affected by the flood, according to the UN, and millions are facing homelessness, malnutrition, the loss of livelihood and the risk of epidemics. Agencies are already reporting hundreds of thousands of cases of acute diarrhea, skin diseases, respiratory infections, malaria and dengue fever.

"The government and the people of Pakistan have already done much to help families affected by these floods," Amos said. "We must also do our part - we simply cannot stand by and watch the immense suffering in a disaster of this scale."

On Sunday a special ministerial meeting focused on Pakistan's crisis is scheduled at the United Nations headquarters. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other key foreign ministers are set to attend.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP/AP/dpa/Reuters)
Editor: Matt Hermann

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