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UN: 800,000 Cut Off By Pakistan Floods

The UN says at least 40 more heavy-lift helicopters are needed to deliver emergency aid to regions cut off by Pakistan's floods.

The United Nations says an estimated 800,000 people in Pakistan remain cut off from roads and highways due to flooding -- and the world body has called on governments to provide at least 40 more heavy-lift helicopters so that emergency aid can be flown to them.

Officials say many of those who are cut off are in Pakistan's mountainous northwest, where roads and bridges have been swept away by floods.

"As monsoon floods continue to displace millions in southern Pakistan, an estimated 800,000 people in need across the country are only accessible by air," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement, adding: "More helicopters are urgently required.”

In another development, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said authorities remain "seriously concerned" about the potential spread of epidemic diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, and dysentery among flood-hit populations, particularly children.

Gilani said Pakistan was currently experiencing what he called the "worst natural calamity of its history."

The UN has said that more than 17 million people have been affected by the floods, with about 1.2 million homes destroyed.

compiled from agency reports