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UN calls world to speed up aid for Pak

UN secretary general, Ban ki-Moon, has urged the world to speed up aid efforts to Pakistan as the country braces itself for further flooding with the waters of the swollen Indus river reaching critical levels.

world Updated: Aug 15, 2010 23:26 IST

UN secretary general, Ban ki-Moon, has urged the world to speed up aid efforts to Pakistan as the country braces itself for further flooding with the waters of the swollen Indus river reaching critical levels.

Ban is in Pakistan to visit affected regions, meet government leaders and assess the scale of the disaster.

The UN has appealed for an initial £295 million to provide relief, but only 20 per cent of that has so far been given.

“I am here ... to share my sympathy and solidarity of the United Nations together with the people and government of Pakistan at this time of trial,” Ban said.

International aid has been slow in coming. Only £96 million has been pledged – with £31 million of that from the British government – in response to the UN appeal.

With more than 1,600 people confirmed dead and as many as 20 million made homeless, the country is reeling from the scale of the catastrophe brought by torrential monsoon rains.

His warning came amid growing fears of social unrest or even a military takeover after the government's shambolic response to the floods.

The first case of cholera since the disaster began has been recorded in the northern Swat Valley, while survivors across the eastern state of Punjab are sleeping in the open without shelter. The situation in some areas is threatening to spill over into violence, according to witnesses. GNS