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UN humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos

The new UN humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, on Tuesday began her first day of work by a three-day visit to the flood-devastated Pakistan, where she is expected to meet with senior Pakistani government officials, a UN spokesman said here.

“Today is the first official day on the job for the recently appointed Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and she’s started it with a three-day mission in Pakistan to see first-hand the situation on the ground and the status of the response,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters here.

“Ms. Amos will meet with senior government officials, donors, UN agencies and humanitarian partners before traveling to Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that floodwaters continue to move through the Sindh province’s Dadu district. The death toll has risen to 1,752, and more than 1.8 million houses are now reported as either damaged or destroyed. In Sindh alone, just under 7 million people have been affected, of which 1.3 million people are in government relief camps.

Also on Tuesday, the UN Refugee Agency’s goodwill ambassador, Angelina Jolie, arrived in Pakistan to meet people affected by the floods and involved in the relief efforts to highlight the urgent need for help, Haq added.

In early July, Amos, Britain’s first black cabinet minister, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to replace fellow Briton John Holmes, who coordinated relief efforts after Haiti’s earthquake in January.

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