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Satellite images show 1/5 of Pakistan under water

Wednesday 18 Aug 2010 6:24p.m.

Satellite images show 1/5 of Pakistan under water

Satellite images released from Nasa have revealed the extent of the devastating floods in Pakistan.

Images show how the country looked from space a year ago, compared with new images which shows a fifth of the country underwater.

Watch the video to see the images.

So far just 500,000 people have received aid.

Pakistan's army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited flood-affected areas of Baluchistan, following a flooding crisis that could worsen, with authorities warning that the swollen Indus River may burst its banks again in coming days.

Kayani met with locals and army officers in Dera Murad Jamali while food was being distributed to flood victims.

Pakistan's shaky government has been sorely tested by the disaster, which has affected about a fifth of the area of the vast country of 170 million people.

In Jaffarabad, Baluchistan, one internally displaced woman, Bukhtrian Bibi, said she didn't have any food or possessions.

At the Haji Camp, Peshawar, people lined up for World Food Programme (WFP) aid amid claims that not all supplies were reaching the internally displaced.

However, in Busa Khail, Charsada, Bashir Ahmed, a local resident, thanked the United Nations for distributing aid.

In the Swat valley, the military transported flood-affected people to higher ground.

Local charities and international agencies have rushed food, water, shelter and medical treatment to the worst-hit areas in the northwest and Punjab and Sindh provinces.

But aid agencies and the British government have complained that the international response to the disaster has not been generous enough.

The latest flooding over the weekend hit a poor region on the border between Sindh and Baluchistan provinces.

The World Bank said on Tuesday it will redirect US$900 million of its existing loans to Pakistan to help in flood recovery, as the UN warned that many of the 20 million people affected by the disaster have yet to receive any emergency aid.

It was not immediately clear if the World Bank's offer consisted of loans, gifts or both, but the financial giant said much of the money would be redirected from ongoing and planned projects in the country.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday acknowledged that the government had responded poorly to the widespread flooding.

Zardari's reputation sank to new lows after he chose to visit Europe as the crisis was unfolding.

With huge destruction of roads and bridges and crops wiped out in many areas, authorities expect reconstruction to take years and cost billions.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday that the situation in flood-ravaged Pakistan desperately deserves the world's attention and assistance.

"Six million people in need of direct humanitarian assistance, urgent assistance, and we are gearing up our operation to deliver it to those people," said Elizabeth Byrs from outside the UN building in Geneva. 

Last week the UN appealed for US$459 million for immediate relief efforts.

It has received 40 percent - about US$184 million of that so far, said Maurizio Giuliano, a UN spokesman. An additional US$43 million has been pledged.

The floods have killed about 1,500 people and inundated 700,000 hectares of wheat, sugar cane and rice crops, raising the prospect of food shortages in the coming months in the already-poor nation.

Prices of food have risen sharply since the floods began.

APTN / 3 News

 
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