Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Evidence of Russian support for Ukrainian rebel counter-attack grows

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

Asia-pacific

IMF to review aid as Pakistan braces for more floods

Video by Olivia Salazar-Winspear

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-23

The International Monetary Fund has said it will review Pakistan's budget as thousands of people scramble for safety in the country's south, where rising flood waters threaten to open a new front in Pakistan's worst-ever natural disaster.

REUTERS - Residents of a southern Pakistani town fled rising flood waters on Saturday in a new frontline of a disaster that has raised questions about the stability of the U.S.-backed government.

Authorities struggled to shore up an embankment holding back a growing tide on the edge of Shahdadkot, in Sindh province, which aid groups say is still highly vulnerable to floods that have raged through Pakistan for three weeks.

A heavy stream of trucks, tractors and donkey carts transported people away, repeating scenes played out throughout the catastrophe that has made more than four million homeless.

“People are saying it’s dangerous to stay,” said Riaz Hussain, as he finished packing his family and possessions, including two water buffalo, onto a trailer behind a tractor.

“I’ll find some corner to live with my family.”

The flood is spreading through the rice-growing belt in the north of Sindh district by district, breaking through or flowing over embankments. People have also cut through dikes and roads hoping to divert the water away from their homes.

Isolated rain was expected in parts of central Punjab, southern Sindh and northwestern Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa provinces in the next 24 hours, officials said.

The International Monetary Fund said it would review Pakistan’s budget and economic prospects in light of the disaster in talks with government officials on Monday. The talks will focus on a $10 billion IMF programme agreed in 2008.

Flood damage to agriculture is widespread, raising the possibility of long-term damage to a pillar of the economy.

“The scale of the tragedy means that the country’s budget and macroeconomic prospects, where are being supported by an IMF financed programme, will need to be reviewed,” said Masood Ahmed, IMF director for the Middle East and Central Asia.

The government has been accused of moving too slowly and Islamist charities, some with suspected links to militant groups, have moved rapidly to provide relief to Pakistanis, already frustrated with their leaders’ track record on the economy, security, poverty and power cuts.

Anger is spreading as Pakistanis fight each other for relief supplies as they are distributed. If the crisis deepens the already unpopular government could face food riots, or possibly social unrest, analysts say.

French aid reaches Pakistan

The United States, eager to ensure stability in a frontline state in the fight against militancy, had led a chorus of aid pledges and provided helicopters for rescue operations.

The EU will also urge countries next month to support trade breaks for Pakistan as worries grow about the impact of the floods on the stability of a country that has failed to break Taliban insurgents with a series of offensives.

Waters began raging through Pakistan about three weeks ago, swallowing villages, destroying roads and bridges and leaving millions destitute. One third of the country has been affected.

Disease fears

In the northwest city of Nowshera, schoolboy Hassam Khan lost what was dear to him - two pet dogs, his school books and his body-building equipment.

“The other two (dogs) were swept away. We never found the body of one. God knows where it was swept away. The other’s body was found in our neighbour’s house,” he said.

Half a million people are living in about 5,000 schools where poor hygiene and sanitation, along with cramped quarters and the stifling heat, provide fertile ground for potentially fatal diseases such as cholera.

The United Nations has warned that up to 3.5 million children could be in danger of contracting deadly diseases carried through contaminated water and insects.

Flood victim Zainab Bibi complained that her family urgently need food and water. “We have received nothing. We fled with nothing. Now our children are suffering from vomiting and diarrhoea,” she said.

On the edge of Shahdadkot, authorities were using heavy equipment to reinforce an embankment holding the water back as residents escaped. An old man cradled an elderly woman, who appeared to be sick, in the back of an auto-rickshaw.

 

Date created : 2010-08-22

  • PAKISTAN

    Pakistan accepts Indian emergency flood aid

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Donors pledge more aid for flood-stricken Pakistan after UN meeting

    Read more

COMMENT(S)