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UN begins meeting on Pak floods

world Updated: Sep 20, 2010 07:54 IST

IANS
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The UN on Sunday began a special meeting on the flood emergency in Pakistan in order to secure more world support and relief aid to cover the needs of millions of Pakistani people affected by the deluge.

The meeting was co-chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, together with other top foreign ministers, were attending the meeting, Xinhua reported on Monday.

"We are here because the Pakistan floods are one of the biggest, most complex natural disasters we have faced in the history of the United Nations," Ban said.

The event came just two days after the UN and its partners launched their largest-ever natural disaster appeal, seeking more than $2 billion for millions of Pakistani flood victims.

The floods in Pakistan have killed 1,700 people and affected more than 20 million, equivalent to over 10 percent of the total population.

The new 2.07-billion-dollar appeal, which more than quadruples the original $460 million sought last month, will provide aid for up to 14 million people over a 12-month period.

Previously, the largest natural disaster appeal -- nearly $1.49 billion -- was launched earlier this year for Haitian earthquake victims. Over $11 billion is required this year for various humanitarian appeals worldwide, the largest amount sought since the beginning of the appeal process in 1991.

"The floods in Pakistan are a global disaster, a global challenge, and a global test of solidarity," the secretary-general said. "This challenge will require our continued focus and commitment to relief, recovery and reconstruction by everyone in the months ahead."

"We look forward to the government of Pakistan's vision and a long-term strategy for rehabilitation and development with clear priorities," he said.

For his part, the Pakistani foreign minister told the meeting that despite the great efforts by his government and people following the disaster, the reconstruction work in the flood-hit areas is so huge that any country can not do all by itself.