The world’s response to floods which have ravaged Pakistan has been slammed by the Birmingham MP in charge of Britain’s own aid effort.
Andrew Mitchell (Con Sutton Coldfield) said the international community must do far more, as he prepared to visit the disaster-hit nation.
Mr Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, will meet Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani.
He is working closely with Islamic Relief, the international charity founded in Birmingham which has so far raised £2 million to help flood victims.
Mr Mitchell said: “The visit will be an opportunity to see the terrible flood situation and how British aid is being deployed.
“I want to see what more we should be doing, both in the medium term and the long term.
“Currently, the response of the international community has been woefully inadequate.
“But until very recently, Britain has been the largest supporter of the relief effort.”
The UK has provided aid of £30 million, on top of donations from the public. The United States has now stepped up its response, including providing 19 helicopters to help relief efforts, making it the largest donor.
“I think part of it is that a disaster like an earthquake is very immediate and visible, whereas with flooding it happens over time and it takes a while to grasp what’s happening.
“People have been slow to appreciate the scale of the disaster, but now there is no excuse for failing to respond.
“I immediately made available up to £30 million for emergency relief and will produce more if it is required, but we are also spending a lot of time trying to persuade other countries to step up to the plate.”
The MP will be accompanied by fellow Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi during his visit to Pakistan this week.
Aid agencies have warned that six million children in the flood-ravaged country are at risk of life-threatening diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition and pneumonia.
They described the recent confirmation of an outbreak of cholera there as “extremely worrying”.
The United Nations said one case of the highly infectious, deadly waterborne disease was confirmed in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan and other cases were suspected.
Some 1,600 people have died in the flooding, which hit the country more than two weeks ago and spread south through thousands of small villages.