Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday sought immediate assistance from the world community to cope with the floods in Pakistan that had caused greater devastation than the 2005 earthquake.
"There is no comparison of the two calamities as the number of people affected by the current floods is estimated at 15 to 20 million in contrast to that of 3.2 million affected by the 2005 earthquake," Qureshi told reporters after he and a group of foreign envoys surveyed flood-hit areas.
While the 2005 quake affected an area of 30,000 sq km, the current flash floods have affected over 135,000 sq km and displaced millions of people, he said.
Qureshi said the response of the international community to help cope with the flood situation was fairly encouraging.
When the UN launched its urgent appeal in New York on Wednesday, there were 24 interventions pledging USD 156 million.
The UN has called for USD 460 to 500 million to meet urgent relief requirements, which would be enough to provide relief to about six to seven million people, he said.
"Therefore, apart from UN and bilateral assistance coming from donor countries, we will have to mobilise national resources to address the challenge," he said.
Qureshi urged the international community to assist in the four key areas of shelter, drinking water, food and medical aid.
Qureshi said he would meet representatives of the Red Cross and Red Crescent with a view to mobilising these organisations.
He said he has several proposals to mobilise international aid and these would be finalised after inter-ministerial consultations and meetings with the President and the Prime Minister.
The Foreign Ministry has directed Pakistani missions to liberally grant visas to volunteers who want to come to participate in relief and rehabilitation activities.
The government will provide them security, he said. A long-term recovery plan would be prepared in consultation with the UN and members of the international community, he added.