Pakistanis block highways to protest slow flood aid

Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:26pm GMT

"We left our homes with nothing and now we're here with no clothes, no food and our children are living beside the road," said protester Gul Hasan, clutching a large stick.

Hasan, like fellow protesters, has been forced from his village and sought refuge in Sukkur. He and others were camped under tattered plastic in muddy wasteland beside the road.

On Sunday night, hundreds of villagers burnt tyres and chanted "down with the government" in Punjab province.

"We are dying of hunger here. No one has showed up to comfort us," said Hafiz Shabbir, a protester in Kot Addu.


The damage caused by the floods and the cost of recovery could bring long-term economic pain to Pakistan and shave more than one percentage point off economic growth, analysts say.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, told Reuters the cost of rebuilding could be more than $10 to $15 billion (6.4 billion to 9.6 billion pounds) and appealed to the international community to provide funds to help stabilise the country.

"These floods have really dislocated everything," he said.

Pakistani stocks ended down 2.9 percent on fears the impact may be more damaging than estimated after Sunday's warnings.   Continued...

<p>Flood victims hang on to the back of a truck while evacuating from Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district of Punjab province August 16, 2010. REUTERS/Adrees Latif</p>
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