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Pakistani reconstruction 'must begin immediately'

Relief efforts to help millions of people caught up in Pakistan’s flood crisis are being stepped up amid calls for immediate reconstruction work to begin.

Oxfam has warned of devastating long-term consequences if billions of pounds were not diverted towards rebuilding schools, hospitals, roads and bridged in badly hit areas.

The aid organisation said that Pakistan did not have the “luxury” of waiting for the emergency phase to be over before concentrating on reconstruction.

British efforts in the region are being increased as public money continues to pour in, charities have said.

The British Red Cross said today that one month into the crisis, the organisation had managed to reached more than than 400,000 people with desperately needed aid as a result of donations.

Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “The delivery of aid to those in need is increasing all the time.

“The Red Cross Red Crescent movement alone has reached hundreds of thousands of people with desperately needed help – including food, water, shelter and medical care – and those numbers are going up by the thousand each and every day.”

Government relief operations are likewise continuing.

The Royal Air Force has announced it is flying in aid for more than 3,000 families left stranded by the floods in Pakistan.

The British Government has now committed £64M to help people in Pakistan affected by the floods.

It comes as Oxfam urged that the international community and the Pakistan authorities begin to focus on rebuilding the country.

Neva Khan, the organisation’s country director in Pakistan, said: “One month into a crisis we would have expected the situation to have stabilised and the long term planning to have begun.

“But we are still in phase one of an increasing catastrophe, evacuating people, providing them with shelter, trying to get clean water and sanitation to those people who need it.

“Pakistan doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for the emergency phase to be over before starting the reconstruction.”

Oxfam said more than 17M people were affected by the floods, more than the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake and the Haiti earthquake combined, with five million left homeless after their homes were washed away.

Villages in the south of the country were still being threatened by the prospect of fresh flooding, with new crop cultivation at risk.


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