UN General Assembly hears calls for global solidarity to aid flood-hit Pakistan (2)

08:20, August 20, 2010      

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More than 45 speakers, including Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other high-level officials from a number of countries, were inscribed to speak at the meeting, which is taking place on World Humanitarian Day, dedicated to the memory of all those aid workers who have lost their lives while bringing assistance to others, and to increase awareness of relief activities worldwide.

"Today's meeting is demonstrative of the international community's commitment to act, an opportunity to step forward and show to the people and the government of Pakistan that we are ready and willing to assist them in every possible way," said Ali Treki, the president of the 64th session of the UN General Assembly.

The president called on member states to donate generously in the face of the "unprecedented humanitarian disaster" unfolding in Pakistan. "This is an extraordinary emergency situation," he said. "It requires an extraordinary response."

The floods, which began late last month in the wake of particularly heavy monsoon rains and which have destroyed homes, farmland and major infrastructure in large parts of the country, have claimed more than 1,200 lives.

Earlier on Thursday, a top UN relief official in Pakistan warned that if humanitarian assistance for clean water, food, shelter and health care is not provided soon enough, there could be a second wave of deaths caused by waterborne diseases.

"The death toll in this disaster has miraculously been far lower than in some other major recent natural disasters and we wish to keep it that way," UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Mogwanja told reporters in New York, speaking from Pakistan.

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