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More International Aid Reaches Flood-Hit Pakistan


Women wait for relief aid near their damaged houses in the flood-affected town of Gandawah in the southwestern province of Balochistan on August 2.

More international aid has arrived in Pakistan to help the victims of some of the worst flooding the country has ever experienced.

Two U.S. military planes -- each loaded with about 35 tons of relief aid -- touched down on September 11 in southern Sindh Province, one of the worst-affected regions.

Pakistan has suffered under extremely heavy monsoon rains that started early this year, in mid-June.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on September 10 visited several areas impacted by the flooding, calling for increased global financial support at the end of a two-day trip aimed at raising awareness of the disaster.

"Today it's Pakistan; tomorrow it could be your country wherever you live. This is a global crisis.... It requires a global response," Guterres told a news conference at the end of his visit.

Pakistan estimates the damage at $30 billion, and both the government and Guterres have blamed the flooding on climate change.

The World Health Organization warned on September 7 of the widespread risk of disease due to the disruption of Pakistan's health system from the flooding.

On September 11, Saif Ullah, spokesman for the country's Civil Aviation Authority, said that two more flights bringing relief goods from the United Arab Emirates had landed at Karachi airport.

So far, UN agencies and several countries have sent multiple planeloads of aid, and authorities say the UAE has been one of the most generous contributors.

Near 1,400 people have been killed, 13,000 injured and millions left homeless by the heavy flooding since mid-June. The waters also destroyed road and communications infrastructure.

Pakistan's powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, toured the badly affected district of Dadu in Sindh Province and its surroundings on September 11. Dadu could suffer further flooding from the rising waters of the Indus River.

"People will continue to suffer if we don't have a drainage system and dams," Bajwa told reporters.

He said constructing dams would help produce electricity, curb pollution, and decrease global warming and that army engineers have been asked to conduct an initial study.

Bajwa said working on alternate energy sources is essential and called for the gradual reduction of oil and coal as energy sources to minimal levels.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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