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Southern Pakistan braces itself for deluge

Southern Pakistan braces itself for deluge
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Pakistan is bracing itself for more flooding described as “imminent” and “extreme” in the south of the country.

More than half a million people in Sind province have been moved to safer areas.

Torrents of water have already swept down from the northwest and through the central farmlands of Punjab. Emergency authorities say at least 1600 have been killed and 12 million people affected.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani went on TV for the first time since the disaster struck:
“At this time of crisis I would like to appeal to the international community to support Pakistan to help alleviate the suffering of the flood affected people.”

The US has pledged more than 25 million euros in aid. The UN’s special envoy for the floods has warned of the risk of epidemics due to a lack of drinking water.

Hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged. Whole families have been forced to fend for themselves, often seeking shelter in rudimentary camps.

The floods have also taken their toll in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Around Leh, 113 people are reported to have been killed and hundreds injured after heavy rain.

It is a mountainous area which attracts many foreign tourists, particularly hikers. India says more than a hundred, mostly Europeans, were rescued from one village – while many more have been affected.