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Pakistan flood and hunger fears

The flooding in Pakistan has never been worse.
The flooding in Pakistan has never been worse.

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

August 12, 2010 — Already trying to cope with the country's worst flooding in a century, people in Pakistan are now worried about food and water shortages.

Millions have been affected by the rushing waters
Millions have been affected by the rushing waters

Unusually heavy monsoon rain has triggered deadly flooding in Pakistan's Indus river basin this month, killing more than 1,600 people and disrupting the lives of about 14 million others.

Crops have been destroyed and farmers' fields have been completely washed out. Food prices have tripled in some parts of the country. There are also fears of both food and water shortages.

About 2 million homes have been damaged or destroyed by the floods. In the south, where flood waters are still rising, more than 600 spontaneous settlements have sprung up across affected districts in public facilities like schools, colleges and government buildings. Conditions are said to be extremely crowded. People are also camping out along roadsides and beside seldom-used railway tracks.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by a combination of relentless rain, inaccessible terrain, damaged infrastructure and limited resources. Many villagers have also been reluctant to leave their homes.

Aid continues to pour into the hardest hit regions
Aid continues to pour into the hardest hit regions

The Pakistan army dispatched four truckloads of relief material to the interior of Sindh in Karachi, but aid agencies say overall the donor response to the crisis has been lackluster.

The U.N. Secretary-General's special envoy for assistance to Pakistan, Jean-Maurice Ripert, says the relief and rehabilitation process could cost billions of dollars.

Some agencies in Toronto say residents have started coming together to raise money for the millions affected in Pakistan. From fundraising dinners to relief funds and car washes, many people are chipping in during such a devastating time.

If you'd like to help with the relief effort, the Canadian Red Cross is one of many credible organizations currently accepting donations. The Canadian Red Cross can be reached at: 1-800-418-1111

With files from Lisa Varano and Andrea Stockton

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