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ISLAMABAD (updated on: September 02, 2010, 11:31 PST): Relief efforts in flood-ravaged areas are being stretched by the 'unprecedented scale' of the disaster, while funding has almost stalled, the UN said on Thursday.

"Given the number of those in need, this is a humanitarian operation of unprecedented scale," said Manuel Bessler, head of the UN's coordination agency, OCHA.

"We need to reach at least eight million people, from the Karakoram Mountain Range in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south."

The UN said 1,760 people have died as a result of the floods and more than 18 million people have been affected, with some eight million left reliant on aid handouts to survive.

The initially slow pace of funding had improved significantly since a visit by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on August 15, the UN said in a statement.

"But it has been almost stalled since the beginning of last week," rising from just 274 million dollars to 291 million dollars, equivalent to 63.4 percent of required funds, the statement said.

"The crisis is far from over," said Tammy Hasselfeldt, chair of a Pakistan charity consortium. "In fact, we are now entering the most difficult stages. Unless we can act fast enough, children and other vulnerable people may succumb."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2010

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