Pakistan Flooding Worse than Tsunami, Haiti Quake

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A staggering 14 million people have been affected by flooding in Pakistan -- more than the combined impact of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake and this year's Haiti earthquake.

The official death toll in Pakistan is at 1,500, but officials fear an even higher number since entire villages have disappeared in the deluge.

"Six thousand villages wiped out the face of the earth," Pakistani U.N. Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon said. "Now [there could be] from 5,000 [to] 50,000 [in] a village. We have no way of counting."

It's estimated that 7 million people need emergency assistance. The United Nations has asked for $459 million in international aid to provide food, clean water, shelter, and medical care for the next 90 days.

The U.S. has pledged $71 million in aid and military helicopters are helping with food drops.

"Unless aid activities continue to be rapidly scaled up to reach those who remain displaced and without immediate access to food and clean drinking water, additional loss of human lives and further suffering will occur," U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said.

Pakistan's government has been criticized for its slow response in aiding flood victims. The speed of the rising waters from this year's monsoon season caught the country off guard.

"I think a lot of us have not understood the scale of this disaster. It is horrendous," Haroon added. "It is going to put us back so many years that we're not even starting on the infrastructure."

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari recently toured the hard-hit Sindh region in an attempt to reassure victims that they will survive the tragedy.

Economists estimate Pakistan's economy could lose $1.8 billion because of the disaster.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.