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UN launches Pakistan flood appeal

The United Nations has launched an appeal to raise £293 million for flood-hit Pakistan as Britain sent out four plane loads of aid.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown, in one of his first interviews since leaving Downing Street, led calls to back the relief effort.

Donations from the British public topped £9.5 million on Wednesday but have flowed in at a slower than rate than previous appeals.

But Mr Brown said there was no suggestion of a "compassion or giving fatigue" and praised the "outpouring of compassion".

The UN said 14 million people had been affected by the disaster, with 1,200 dead and at least 288,000 homes damaged or destroyed. It said up to seven million people needed immediate humanitarian assistance, including food, clean water, shelter and medical care.

International development secretary Andrew Mitchell said the disaster was on a "huge scale".

The four planes, chartered by the UK Department for International Development, will deliver 1,000 tents, more than 9,000 shelter kits, 24,000 water containers and nearly 50,000 blankets. The British Government has now earmarked up to £31.3 million for the relief and recovery effort.

Mr Mitchell praised the response of the British public to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal and said it showed "characteristic generosity and compassion".

Speaking on GMTV, Mr Brown said it was vital to send more cash to the crisis-hit country. "I think there's not a compassion or giving fatigue. I think there's an outpouring of compassion in this country," he said. "I think we are seeing the number of people wanting to do something rising."

Mr Brown, who said he was adapting to life outside Number 10 and enjoying spending more time with his family, added: "When you see on television a young infant girl struggling for life, probably not being able to make it as a result of the floods, you want to do something. I think every single person in this country will have that compassion."


From Belfast Telegraph