29 Aug 2010

Pakistani exodus continues

5:08 pm on 29 August 2010

The exodus continues in Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing in the south as rising floodwaters breach more defences and inundate towns.

Torrential monsoon rains have triggered massive floods for nearly a month Floodwaters are moving steadily southwards, affecting a fifth of the country.

United Nation officials say more than 70,000 children, who were already severely malnourished, are at risk of dying from diseases borne by the water.

As the waters start to recede in the north of the country, the BBC reports the full extent of the damage has begun to emerge.

About 3.2 million hectares of farmland - about 14% of the land under cultivation - has been damaged.

River swollen by factor of 40

Meanwhile, a UN agency now warns that the Indus river in the south has swollen to 40 times its usual capacity.

Southern Sindh is the worst-affected province. Nineteen of the 23 districts in Sindh province are now affected by the floods, and the ABC reports more rain is forecast in southern Pakistan over the weekend.

Across the country, some 17 million people have been affected.

The UN says it has received or been pledged about $US325 million of the $US459 million it sought from foreign donors. An additional $US600 million has been provided or promised outside the appeal.