Monday, August 23, 2010

Pakistan meets with the IMF as flood moves south

Pakistani officials are in Washington DC today to talk to the International Monetary Fund. Pakistan wants to talk to the IMF to come up with a solution to prop up the economy broken by the flooding disaster.

For more on the latest conditions on the ground in Pakistan, writer Robert Birsel filed this Reuterspiece that we found at KUAR.

The worst floods in decades have been spreading through the rice-growing belt in southern Sindh province district by district, breaking through or flowing over embankments.

Sindh is home to Pakistan's biggest city and commercial center Karachi, but the floods have affected mostly rural areas and far smaller urban centers.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Saleem Rehmat told reporters about 80 percent of the 3.9 million people in Sindh affected by the floods have been displaced.

"People are laying on roadsides. They have taken shelter under trees or have made some sort of shelter under cloths or other items. They desperately need proper shelters," he said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled cities, towns and villages in the province for safer ground, disaster management officials said, adding that growing water pressure in the Indus River was one of their biggest concerns.

In other parts of the country, the scale of the humanitarian disaster is gargantuan, and growing every day.

At least half a million people are living in about 5,000 schools in flood-hit areas. The cramped, unhygienic conditions, combined with food shortages and the intense heat, raise the specter of potentially fatal disease outbreaks, such as cholera.

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