Nick Clegg today warned that flood-hit Pakistan will need aid for years to come as he saw the devastation for himself.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the disaster would have a “long tail”, with threats from water-borne disease and opportunistic extremists.
Speaking after being shown aid camps near the southern town of Sukkur – one of the worst affected regions – Mr Clegg said: “I think the sheer scale of this, it is really quite difficult to comprehend.
“The terrible thing is that it has got a long tail. It has got a lot of aftershocks that are going to last for a long time.”
He said the international community’s response has been too slow, but praised donations from the British Government and public.
“We have to make a huge effort to provide important emergency aid, but really stick with this for the long term,” he said.
Mr Clegg stressed that the flood waters have not drained away in many areas, and there is a “real danger of diseases taking hold”.
“It’s going to take years and years for normality to come back to Pakistan,” he added.
He also warned that the influence of extremist groups could be boosted by the disaster.
“The danger always is that you get groups who have an ulterior motive who provide aid to try to curry favour,” he went on.
The DPM toured the Pakistan Air Force flood relief camp at Sukkur, which houses more than 3,000 refugees. He was shown a clinic and chatted with children at a makeshift school, before moving on to the UN World Food Programme distribution base.