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U.S. launches job program as giving slows for Pakistan flood relief

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: The United Nations warns of slowdown in pace of giving for flood relief
  • NEW: The death toll rises to 1,677, Pakistani officials say
  • The United States is offering 21-day jobs in Pakistan's Swat Valley

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The United States is launching a new program to provide jobs for thousands of people in flood-ravaged Pakistan, it said Wednesday.

News of the program comes as the United Nations' humanitarian agency warned that funding for flood relief in Pakistan is slowing down.

"We are now entering the most dangerous stage, where children and other vulnerable people may die if we do not reach them fast enough," said Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The relief effort is likely to require more than the $460 million that the United Nations originally requested, he said. He noted that the pace of giving has slowed since U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Pakistan about two months ago.

Video: Hope for future floats
Video: Pakistanis battle over levees
  • Pakistan

The death toll from floods in Pakistan stands at 1,677, Pakistani disaster management officials said on Wednesday. At least 17 million people have been affected.

The new U.S. program, meanwhile, will provide 21 days of work to about 4,800 households in Pakistan's Swat Valley region in an effort to get money into communities that were devastated by floods, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

"In each target community, a tool kit is being distributed that includes wheelbarrows, crowbars, shovels, hoes, hammers and steel pans. With these tools, the teams are working to construct roads and repair bridges in flood-damaged areas. These short-term jobs will allow workers to purchase much-needed food and supplies in local markets, spurring economic regeneration and early recovery," the statement said.

The United States has also provided $150 million in humanitarian assistance to Pakistan.

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