UN chief calls Pakistan floods "one of the biggest" natural disasters

September 20, 2010 10:36 am 

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 20 — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called the devastating floods that struck Pakistan from late July to August "one of the biggest, most complex natural disasters we have faced in the history of the United Nations."

The statement came during a UN high-level meeting on the flood emergency response in Pakistan, co-chaired by the secretary- general here at the UN Headquarters in New York.

"The floods in Pakistan are a global disaster, a global challenge, and a global test of solidarity. This challenge will require our continued focus and commitment to relief, recovery and reconstruction by everyone in the months ahead," said Ban.

Intense monsoon rains began to downpour in Pakistan on July 22. Continued rainfall resulted in widespread floods that have affected an estimated 20 million people, with eight to twelve million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, according to UN reports.

On Sept. 17, the UN launched its "Revised Pakistan Emergency Response Plan" to extend relief effort and early recovery needs for the next 12 months. Ban called on the international community for its "urgent response."

Meanwhile, the secretary-general announced the preparation of an analysis on the impact of the floods on Pakistan's efforts in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. The UN's analysis is set to be completed by the end of October and tabled at the Pakistan Development Forum in November.

"The people of Pakistan are counting on the support of the international community. Let us work to help them rebuild their communities, their livelihoods and their lives," said Ban. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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