| GEO Pakistan|
WFP calls for helicopters to bring food to victims
| Updated at: 1713 PST, Friday, August 20, 2010|
GENEVA: The World Food Programme said Friday it urgently needs helicopters to get food to millions of flood victims in Pakistan who remain cut off by the high waters.
"At the moment we're recognising that there's a real massive need for a boost in air delivery capacity immediately to reach the people who remain cut off and those who are going to continue to be affected in the weeks to come," said Emilia Casella, spokeswoman for the UN food agency.
The WFP has managed to secure another five choppers which would be put into service Friday, bringing the total number of helicopters in use to 15.
Casella did not have a figure of how many more are needed, but said: "You could bring in a lot of helicopters and we will use them all."
"We need the helicopters now at this stage," she added, pointing out that they are essential at the moment as roads remain cut off by flood waters.
The agency has managed to get one-month food rations to 1.2 million flood victims, but Casella noted that the figure was far from the agency's target of six million.
Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that UN agencies were ramping up their aid effort and that the international community was also coming forward to help.
"There is currently a movement of solidarity... We have received 55 percent of the appeal of the 460 million appeal that we had launched," she said.
But Byrs also stressed that the full picture of the devastation by the floods was only beginning to emerge.
"It's a disaster that came very slowly, it's not an earthquake that hits suddenly that we can immediately see the victims. But we are now seeing the magnitude of this catastrophe."
The UN was also expected to raise its funding appeal in the coming weeks, she said.
"The appeal will definitely be revised. It was an appeal for three months, an appeal for urgent aid... This appeal will be revised in the coming month," she said.