(AP) Pakistani flood survivors already short on food and water began the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday, a normally festive, social time marked this year by misery and fears of an uncertain future.
The U.S. announced a navy ship with 19 helicopters and 1,000 Marines on board was close to the southern coast of the country and relief flights would soon begin. The U.N. launched an emergency appeal for international assistance for Pakistan after the already-poor nation was hit with one of its worst-ever natural disasters.
Damage to crops, roads and bridges have caused food prices to triple in some parts of the country, adding to the pain of those marking the fasting month.
"Ramadan or no Ramadan, we are already dying of hunger," said Mai Hakeema, a 50-year-old who sat alongside her ailing husband in a tent outside the city of Sukkur. "We are fasting forcibly, and mourning our losses."
[See accompanying link for full text and related content.]