Islamabad – Five children have died of malnutrition in the north-western region of Pakistan hit hard by the floods currently plaguing the country, a media report said on Sunday.

The first reported deaths due to lack of food in flood-affected areas took place in Kohistan, a mountainous district cut off from the rest of the country since the rising waters washed away bridges and roads.

There was a huge food crisis in different flood-stricken parts of the district, local politician Abdul Sattar Khan told Dawan television. Five children had already died of malnutrition, he said.

“The number of casualties, due to malnutrition, is expected to rise if the Karakorum highway and other connecting routes are not opened to bring in food for the flood victims,” Khan told the television station.

“The government has completely failed in coordinating relief efforts for the flood victims,” he added.

The surging waters that devastated the north-western region before sweeping across large areas in central and southern parts of the country have affected 20 million people and killed around 1,400.

The United Nations has appealed for 460 million dollars to assist the six million people in dire need of food, shelter and medicine.

The UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who visited Pakistan on Sunday, urged the world community “to speed up assistance to the Pakistani people.”

“We are trying to mobilize all the necessary assistance, and remember that the whole world is behind the people of Pakistan at this time of trial,” Ban said after his plane landed at an army airbase near Islamabad.

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