UN says it is supporting efforts to help Pakistani floods victims

The United Nations is sending relief supplies to help victims in Pakistan of heavy floods, which are the worst that some parts of the country have seen in more than eight decades, the humanitarian arm of the world body said Friday. Heavy rains in recent days have triggered flash and river floods across Pakistan, causing death and widespread displacement, according to a statement by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods, with the waters destroying crops and damaging roads and bridges, the statement said. At a news briefing, UN Spokesman Matin Nesirky said the humanitarian community is working on getting assessment missions to the affected areas. However, he said, continued rains and damaged infrastructure make the roads impassable and complicate the task of assessing damage. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is experiencing its worst flooding since 1929, with at least 400,000 people affected, it noted. Swat, Charsadda and 23 other badly-hit districts have received up to 29 centimetres of rain in the past 24 hours, the highest recorded rainfall in the region in the past 35 years. Road links to the city of Peshawar in the province have been cut off, while the Swat River has broken its banks and there is a fear that the Indus River will soon overflow. Government-led relief efforts are under way in KP, with authorities having provided food, tents and other supplies, while in some areas, the army is evacuating people from their villages, the statement said. In Balochistan province, flooding has reached seven districts, affecting some 150,000 people. The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are providing tents and other items, while the UN World Health Organization (WHO) is coordinating with the Government to provide medicine. For its part, the World Food Programme (WFP) said the agency is ready to provide food if needed.

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