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100 dead and one million homeless after Pakistan floods

Author/Source : ABDUL SATTAR
Publish Date :Mon, 02 Jul 2007

FLOODS due to a cyclone and heavy rain have left as many as 100 people dead in south-western Pakistan, a senior relief official said yesterday.

The government also appealed to the international community for donations of tents to help shelter about a million people left homeless.

The deaths have occurred in the province of Baluchistan since Tuesday, when Cyclone Yemyin and rains triggered floods across a vast area, according to Tariq Ayub, the province's home secretary, who is overseeing the flood relief operation.

Footage on Pakistani television channels showed vast areas in Baluchistan submerged, with survivors sometimes wading through neck-high water.

A key road that stretches along the Arabian Sea coast connecting Karachi, the main port city, with several other towns, was washed away in many places.

A large-scale relief operation, hampered at times by broken roads, continued as military helicopters and cargo planes pressed ahead to fly marooned survivors to safety and distribute food, water and medicines, officials said.

"Relief goods are pouring in, but it is a challenge to distribute it in the vast affected area where communication and transportation lines have broken down," said Raziq Bugti, spokesman for the Baluchistan government.

The military said that relief goods distributed by helicopter and C-130 planes included bags of rice, tents, mattresses, bottled water, medicines and water tanks.

But Khudah Bakhsh, the province's top relief official, said that more tents were needed to provide shelter to the more than one million people that have been left homeless by flooding in 15 badly-hit districts.

"We urgently need tents ... we appeal to the international community to provide us at least 100,000 tents to house the homeless people," he said.

Mohammed Yousuf, government co-ordinator for national rural support programme in Turbat, one of the worst-hit towns, said that waterborne diseases were a threat due to a lack of clean drinking water.

There have already been reports of an outbreak of diarrhoea in some flood-hit areas.

Floods last week have also killed more than two dozen people in Pakistan's north-western tribal region.

On 23 June, storms left 228 people dead in Karachi, capital of neighbouring Sindh province.

The state-run Pakistan Meteorological Department yesterday forecast "widespread heavy rains" and storms in Sindh and Baluchistan over the next four days.

This article: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1028322007