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Pakistani floods 'won't recede for two weeks'

The devastating Pakistan floods are unlikely to recede fully for almost a fortnight, the country’s top forecaster has said.

The grim prediction for the more than 20 million people made homeless or otherwise affected by the deluge came from senior meteorologist Arif Mahmood who said existing river torrents were still heading to major cities such as Hyderabad and Sukkur in the south and could yet cause more floods.

But there were no heavy rains forecast this week. “This is a good news for aid agencies involved in the rescue and relief operations,” he said.

The scale of the disaster has strained the government and the police and army, which are handling much of the relief effort. Islamist militants clashed with police overnight in the north-west, and police said the insurgents were seeking to exploit the state’s weaknesses as it dealt with the floods.

The floods that began three weeks ago have submerged tens of thousands of villages, killed around 1,500 people and affected 20 million others.

They hit first in the north-west, wiping out much of its infrastructure, and then the swollen rivers gushed toward the south and the east, displacing millions more.

About a fifth of Pakistani territory has been affected.

The UN appealed last week for $459M (£300M) in international aid for immediate relief to Pakistan. Aid groups have complained that the response so far has been weak, but the organisation said today that more than half of the money had come in.

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