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Pakistan Floods Crisis Is Far From Over, Says Oxfam


A Pakistani man (C) distributes food to flood affected people at a makeshift camp in Karachi in October 2010. Six months after Pakistan's worst monsoon floods in 80 years, Oxfam says the crisis is far from over and could even get worse. (AFP/File)

Six months after Pakistan's worst monsoon floods in 80 years, Oxfam says the crisis is far from over and could even get worse.

The UK-based agency says malnutrition levels in the south
have soared, and the aid community has only "scratched the surface of
human need".

At least 170,000 people remain in relief camps and swathes of land are still under foul water in the south.

Pakistan's government is to halt most emergency relief efforts this month.

The UN appeal for $2bn (£1.26bn) to rebuild Pakistan remains only 56% funded.

'Food crisis looms'

Oxfam's report, Six month into the floods, is warning that this could put at risk large numbers of people who still need help.

Neva Khan, head of the aid agency in Pakistan, said: "Oxfam
is currently helping nearly 1.9 million people - one of our biggest
programmes worldwide - but this is dwarfed by the number of people who
are in need.

"The aid community has done a tremendous amount, but given
the immense scale of this disaster we have only scratched the surface."

Amid sub-zero winter temperatures, there were more than
200,000 cases of chest infections such as pneumonia reported in the
second week of January alone, says Oxfam.

The UN says 170,000 flood victims remain in relief camps.

Oxfam says the total number of homeless people is much higher
when taking into account those living in tents beside wrecked homes, or
with friends and relatives.

The aid agency also says that malnutrition levels also remain stubbornly high.

And it warns that another food crisis looms because so many
crops were lost in the disaster and most farmers missed the next
planting season.

Oxfam says that if it provided land for labourers, investing
more in disaster management and other measures, Pakistan could "salvage a
new beginning from the debris" of the flood disaster.

Although the death toll from last summer's deluge was
relatively low - claiming about 1,750 lives - between 14 and 20 million
people were affected.

The floods started in the mountainous north and surged south,
destroying 1.2m homes and damaging about 14% of Pakistan's land under

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