pakistan floods 2.jpgThe United Nations says floods in Pakistan have left more than 4 million people homeless, with the United States planning to announce more funds for relief efforts.

 

U.S. Senator John Kerry said Washington plans to boost aid to the nation by $150 million to prevent an increase of Islamist extremism amid the crisis.

 

The latest number of homeless was double an earlier estimate of 2 million, prompting an urgent effort to secure more funds.

 

About a fifth of the country is submerged by flood waters, and the threat of water-borne diseases such as cholera is a serious concern as families wade through chest-high, filthy water.

 

“We have decided to increase the number of targeted beneficiaries for tents and plastic sheeting, from the initial figure of 2 million, to at least 6 million,” said Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

 

Pakistani Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani has pledged to ensure relief funds end up in the right hands.

 

However, opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he believes more international aid is not streaming in because people want more transparency from the government. He proposed establishing an independent coalition to work on aid distribution.

 

The United Nations said it has received less than half of the $460 million it needs for relief efforts. Despite millions of dollars in support from other countries, the flow of aid is failing to keep pace with the need.

 

The latest crisis has affected about 20 million people. Relentless monsoon rains started falling three weeks ago, leading to massive flooding from the mountainous regions in the north to the river plains of the south.

 

More than 1,500 people have died.

 

Health officials fear a second wave of fatalities from waterborne diseases, including cholera, which is endemic in Pakistan.

 

Up to 3.5 million children are at high risk of cholera and other deadly diseases such as typhoid and dysentery, said Giuliano of the United Nations.

 

About 900,000 homes have been damaged, and the monsoon season is only about halfway over.