Pakistan accuses Cameron of hampering flood aid after his claim that country 'exports terror'

[Daily Mirror] 14.08.10

David Cameron's attack on Pakistan's approach to tackling terrorism is hampering aid efforts for the flood-stricken country, a senior official has claimed.

Abdullah Hussein Haroon, Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations, said his country had 'suffered' as a result of the row in which the Prime Minister accused his country of 'exporting terror'.

The Disasters Emergency Committee has raised £9.5million from the British public for Pakistan, but experts have warned this is less than was raised for comparable disasters, such as the Haiti earthquake.

Up to six million children are at risk of disease after the floods, aid agencies have warned.

Mr Haroon said: 'Yes, Pakistan has suffered because of what David Cameron has said, because the British people will listen to their Prime Minister.'

Mr Cameron's words sparked a diplomatic row.

He later insisted that he stood by his comments, but also stressed the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.

The country's already anaemic economy is expected to weaken, increasing the poverty that is a major factor in the militancy wracking Pakistan.

Thousands of Pakistani soldiers are now tasked with flood relief and crucial rebuilding of bridges and roads once the worst floods in Pakistan's history have receded.

Helicopters that once supported troops in the tribal regions may also have to be dispatched for flood relief.

Chief army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said 60,000 troops were engaged in flood relief.

On Tuesday, the Pakistani Taliban said the flooding was God's punishment for accepting secular leaders and urged Pakistanis to boycott foreign aid.

The UN and U.S. are urging the international community to step up assistance to Pakistan, which needs hundreds of millions in immediate emergency aid and billions of dollars to rebuild.

In a new appeal yesterday, the United Nations asked for $459million to provide emergency relief, including food, clean water, shelter and medical care, over the next 90 days.

Flood survivors already short on food and water began the fasting month of Ramadan this morning.
Doctors have warned that survivors' already weakened health could be further endangered by taking part in the religious month.

Damage to crops, roads and bridges have caused food prices to triple in some parts of the country.

Observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk each day for a month to control their desires and show empathy for the poor.

The month is marked by increased attendance at mosques, a rise in charitable giving and family gatherings.

1 comment: