Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 18:57 UK

Pakistan floods statement

The "magnitude" of damage caused by flooding in Pakistan is almost impossible to describe, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has told MPs.

In a statement to the Commons on 7 September 2010, Mr Mitchell said the "devastating" floods which have killed more than 1,700 people and affected a further 17 million were a "terrible tragedy".

But he claimed the widespread flooding offers the country "unprecedented opportunity".

"It is an opportunity for the international community to come together and provide exceptional support to Pakistan in its hour of need, but equally it offers an unprecedented opportunity for the government of Pakistan to drive forward a radical economic reform agenda that could make a real difference to the future of the country."

UK response

Mr Mitchell outlined the latest steps in the UK's humanitarian assistance to Pakistan, including measures to help provide clean water and prevent the spread of water-borne diseases, and praised the work of officials and the armed forces in helping to tackle the crisis.

And he pledged that the UK would remain at the country's side once the immediate emergency situation had eased.

The UK has committed £64m in response to the floods which began in August and the British public have donated more than £47m which the international development secretary said was a "magnificent response".

Shadow international development secretary Douglas Alexander echoed Mr Mitchell's remarks and said "we must continue to be resolute in our support for the poor and vulnerable in Pakistan, particularly at this troubling time".

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