UN warns of second wave of deaths unless help arrives soon

THE United Nations warned yesterday of a second wave of deaths from floods in Pakistan unless help arrives soon.

Floods triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rain have scoured Pakistan's Indus river basin, killing more than 1,600 people, forcing two million from their homes and disrupting the lives of about 14 million people, or 8 per cent of the population.

"If we do not respond soon enough to the urgent needs of the population, if we do not provide life-saving assistance as soon as is necessary, there may be a second wave of death caused by diseases and food shortages," said the UN's humanitarian operations spokesman, Maurizio Giuliano.

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Hundreds of roads and bridges have been destroyed from the northern mountains to the plains of the southern province of Sindh, where the waters have not yet crested, meaning the situation could get worse.

Countless villages and farms have been inundated, crops destroyed and livestock lost.

In some places, families are huddled on tiny patches of waterlogged land with their animals surrounded by an inland sea.

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