ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani cancelled a visit to the United States to attend the UN General Assembly session because of floods which have hit southern Pakistan, his office said on Friday.
Pakistani leaders were widely accused of neglecting victims of last year's floods and the government is again seen as moving too slowly in the latest crisis.
"The prime minister has cancelled his visit because of the floods and now the foreign minister will represent Pakistan on the visit," said an official in Gilani's office.
The government was last year pilloried by flood victims who accused civilian authorities of a delayed and inadequate response to the disaster, which was met with nearly one billion dollars in foreign donations.
Local officials say the level of devastation is worse than last year in parts of Sindh, the country’s main breadbasket, with poor drainage and weak infrastructure exacerbating the problem.
Last year’s floods hit 13 out of 24 districts of Sindh, this year almost every district is affected.
But while last year’s disaster was caused by the bulging River Indus, causing mass devastation where waters breached the broken banks, the flooding this year is a result of direct rainfall, affecting different areas.
Three dead, water starts to recede
Three people were reported to have died on Friday in the aftermath of monsoon rains and floods in Sindh.
A ten-year-old girl died of gastro in one of the relief camps, while a 45-year-old woman was killed in a roof collapse.
Another woman died of malaria in the Umer Kot area.
The water level in several districts of the province has gone down, with reports of normalcy returning in low lying areas of Nawabshah.
Water has also receded by six inches in Badin and Pangrio.
Waterborne diseases are on the rise and clean water is not available for flood victims.
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