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Pakistan floods: Rescue effort under way but 27,000 still stranded

Concern about the worst Pakistan floods in living memory is now shifting to preventing water-borne disease from spreading among the 1.5 million displaced. The US and UN have pledged $10 million toward relief efforts.

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Pakistani Army soldiers help people to cross a river after a bridge collapsed due to heavy flooding in Chakdara, near Mingora in Swat Valley, Pakistan, on Monday. The government has deployed thousands of soldiers and civilian rescue workers to save an estimated 27,000 people trapped by the floodwaters, distribute food, and collect the bodies of the victims.

Naveed Ali/AP Photo

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The death toll from the worst floods in living memory in Pakistan rose to 1,100 on Monday. With rescue efforts well under way, concern is now shifting to preventing water-borne diseases from spreading among the 1.5 million displaced.

The United States and the United Nations have each pledged $10 million toward relief efforts, and the Pakistani Army has mobilized 30,000 troops to aid in the rescue of those still stranded. China also pledged 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) in emergency funds.

Zia-ur-Rehman, a spokesman for Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, which is spearheading relief and rescue efforts, told the Monitor that Army helicopters are being employed to rescue the thousands still stranded in various districts including Kohistan and Swat, the scene of a major military offensive last year.

“The most pressing needs now are food items and fresh water,” says Rehman. He adds that although the water is beginning to recede in some areas and people are returning to their homes to recover their possessions, more monsoon rain is forecast for later tonight.

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