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UN food agency seeks aid expansion in flood-stricken Pakistan

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UN food agency seeks aid expansion in flood-stricken Pakistan

2010-10-05 23:23:14 GMT+7 (ICT)

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) -- The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday announced that its World Food Program (WFP) will be scaling up its food aid to reach more than 7 million people in Pakistan, which is entering the third month of the worst flooding in its history.

In late July, catastrophic floods hit the Asian nation and the WFP soon began distributing rations, providing aid to an average of 6 million people per month while transitioning towards early recovery activities.

However, WFP announced it will boost its operations to reach 7.1 million people this month as severe flooding continues in the south and victims are in drastic need of aid.

Early recovery activities have begun in the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KPK), where the agency is helping nearly 18,000 families through food-for-work activities, including rehabilitating farmland, roads and irrigation systems destroyed by flooding.

As seed kits have been distributed to 6,500 families in the province to counter food insecurity so that they can grow their own vegetables and sell the surplus at markets, the WFP is also prepositioning essential food items in KPK, Kashmir and other areas that will be inaccessible during the winter.

The program has already helped to deliver over 3,500 metric tons of food, medicine and other items to isolated areas of KPK, Sindh and Punjab provinces, but it notes that its food assistance program for flood-affected communities faces a $414 million shortfall.

On Tuesday, a helicopter used by the UN Humanitarian Air Service, the WFP-operated air service for the humanitarian community, to deliver rations to people affected by flooding made a forced landing in southern Sindh province.

The 12 people, including WFP staff, on board the chopper all survived and were rescued by a Pakistani military unit near the crash site. The injured were transported to a Chinese military hospital.

Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organization has reported that relief activities need to be strengthened in Sindh province, stating that malnutrition could increase, and that acute diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, skin infections and suspected malaria are the leading reasons people seek health care.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2010-10-05

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