18 July 2007The United Nations today launched a $38 million Flash Appeal to aid hundreds of thousands of people in south-west Pakistan after last month’s cyclone Yemyin left widespread flooding in its wake. Almost 300 people have lost their lives, nearly 200 are missing, 377,000 people have been displaced and a total of 2.5 million people have been impacted by four days of heavy rains drenching Balochistan and Sindh, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).“United Nations agencies and NGOs are working closely with the Pakistan authorities to bring urgent assistance to those affected by this disaster,” said John Holmes, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, speaking at the launch of the appeal in Geneva. “I urge the world to respond urgently and generously to this appeal. If we don’t act quickly their plight is likely to deteriorate further.”This Appeal is a collaboration among the UN, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority and both local and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).The funds for urgent assistance will be mobilized over three months for projects involving shelter, water and sanitation, health, food security and early recovery. Assessments to determine needs were jointly conducted by the Government and humanitarian community earlier this month.“The humanitarian community is relying on international donors to fund this Flash Appeal to ensure that the impact of this disaster is contained, and that the most vulnerable receive the assistance they need,” said Jan Vandemoortele, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan. “The cyclone has hit one of the poorest parts of Pakistan. The needs and challenges are immense.”While some people have been taken in by relatives and friends, others are living in schools and other public buildings, makeshift settlements and camps. As a result, procuring emergency shelter materials to reconstruct homes is crucial.There is an acute shortage of safe drinking water due to as water systems have been damaged and contaminated, OCHA warned, pointing out that by supplying access to sanitation and hygiene, outbreaks of water-borne diseases will be prevented.