UAE raises more than 20 mln dollars for Pakistan victims

A nationwide fundraising campaign in the United Arab Emirates has so far raised more than 20 million dollars of aid for Pakistan flood victims, the official WAM news reported.

The campaign, launched by the UAE Red Crescent under the slogan “Your Help,” raised more than 75 million dirhams (20.4 million dollars) over its first four days and will carry on until Monday, WAM said late on Saturday.

It said a live TV fundraising campaign was being run on several Emirati television channels.

Pakistan has aarly a month, torrential monsoon rain has triggered massive floods in Pakistan steadily moving from north to south, affecting a fifth of the volatile country — an area roughly the size of England — and 17 million people.

A senior US official said last week that countries worldwide have pledged a total of more than 700 million dollars (554 million euros) toward flood relief in Pakistan.

But reconstruction efforts must begin immediately to prevent the flooding disaster from becoming a long-term catastrophe, aid agency Oxfam said on Sunday.

It said billions of dollars would be needed to start rebuilding schools, roads, bridges and hospitals immediately, adding that the aid effort was struggling to respond.