DISASTER

Pakistan Floods Leave 20M Homeless

The worst flooding in 80 years has left 20 million people homeless across Pakistan. The estimate, announced by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, is six million higher than the figure released by the United Nations, and means that one in nine people in the country has been forced out of their home. The death toll, meanwhile, has reached 1,600. Now the battle for relief agencies is to contain the spread of water-borne diseases, such as cholera and diarrhea. "Given that there are concerns about cholera, which is a very deadly disease, what we've started to do instead of testing them for cholera is to treat everyone for cholera," one United Nations official said. But even if the diseases are contained, Pakistan will still be feeling the effects of the flooding for years to come in agricultural losses; some 17 million acres of farmland are currently under water.