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Second crisis for Pakistan

Second crisis for Pakistan

Following the UN's desperate pleas for help last week, the warnings of an impending second crisis in Pakistan are increasing.

World Vision's vice-president for the region, Dave Robinson, said the devastation he witnessed when visiting the affect areas last week was almost incomprehensible.

"As I walked through the rubble, I struggled to articulate the horror I saw and the death I smelled. Human flesh rots under tons of crushed concrete. Recovery of bodies is painfully slow," said Dave Robinson, but that wasn't the most harrowing part of visiting the area.

"The worst appears yet to come," he said.

"I fear this winter will show this emergency to be much worse than the tsunami. There is no comparison to the dedicated global response for the tsunami - such a response is lacking here."

And therein lies the key difference between this earthquake and other natural disasters the world has seen recently. The desperate calls from aid agencies and those working with the victims are so urgent because the response to this disaster been minimal when compared to others – and people will die as a result.

"Winter is only a few weeks away. Heavy snow will likely fall before the end of November," said Mr Robinson.

He said estimates vary on how many are homeless, but it is thought that more than 2 million are at risk.

For the homeless – and those living outside for deep fear of further aftershocks – World Vision is distributing family kits that contain tents, tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets and collapsible water containers. The supply of winterised tents is a problem, but World Vision is looking into shelter alternatives.

Cashflow is an issue though, highlighted by the UN last week begging for US$550 million – up from US$313 million. So far, according to London's Financial Times, it has received only US$67 million in aid, and US$28 million in further pledges.

"Everybody is tired," said Mr Robinson, "but try explaining donor fatigue to an earthquake survivor.

"We've got to dig deeper."

Donations to World Vision for Pakistan go to those in need in the devastated areas. To donate to World Vision's Pakistan appeal phone 0800 80 2000 or go online at www.worldvision.org.nz

ENDS


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