UN General Assembly hears calls for global solidarity to aid flood-hit Pakistan

08:20, August 20, 2010      

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The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a plenary meeting of the 64th General Assembly Session of the United Nations at the UN Headquarters in New York August 19, 2010. The meeting was convened on Thursday to mobilize international support for flood-hit Pakistan. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

Speaker after speaker took the floor at a plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday to call for global solidarity to help flood- hit Pakistan in the wake of the Asian country's worst disaster in living memory and for generous support for vital relief operations.

"Make no mistake: this is a global disaster, a global challenge. It is one of the greatest tests of global solidarity in our times, " UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the 192-member body, which is expected to adopt a resolution at the end of the two-day special meeting to call for international assistance in support of the Pakistani government's efforts to address the crisis.

The secretary-general, who visited the flood-stricken country on Sunday, said Pakistan is facing a "slow-motion tsunami," with needs expected to grow, even as 15 to 20 million people currently need shelter, food and emergency care.

"That is more than the entire population hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake, Cyclone Nargis and the earthquake in Haiti, combined," he stated, adding that at least 160,000 square kilometers of land is under water -- an area larger than more than half the countries of the world.

Meanwhile, Ban thanked the international community for the generosity it has shown so far, especially in response to the 460 million U.S. dollars requested by the UN and its partners through the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan that was launched last week, which is now 47 percent funded.

Underscoring that the needs are great, and the disaster is far from over, Ban asked nations to respond urgently to the emergency response plan and help humanitarian agencies deliver the food, water, shelter and health care that millions in Pakistan so desperately need.

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