TODAY | August 17, 2010
NATALIE MORALES, anchor: Millions of flood victims are increasingly desperate in Pakistan . What began as a natural disaster's now turning into a major humanitarian one. NBC 's Stephanie Gosk in -- is in Islamabad . Stephanie , good morning to you.
STEPHANIE GOSK reporting: Good morning, Natalie . Well, it's been about three weeks since the flood hit, but we're really just now beginning to understand the human toll here. The United Nations is now warning that because of widespread illness, there could be a large second wave of death. In Pakistan , it's survival by any means necessary . Helicopters, unable to land, toss clean water and food to the stranded. Where the river continues to rise, some escape by zip line, others by raft. In the northwest, mule trains navigate dangerous valleys to reach people cut off in the mountains. There are millions left homeless and aid is sporadic, sparking angry protests against the government. There's little food, and in some places no access to clean water . The most vulnerable are getting sick first. In the children's ward at Mardan Hospital there aren't enough beds, and the patients keep coming in. Dr. Aram Khan says this two-month-old girl may not have long to live. He worries that some here may have cholera.
Mr. ARAM KHAN (Pediatrician): We can just see these poor people dying in front of us because of lack of facilities.
GOSK: The antibiotics are gone. The hospital hasn't received any supplies from the government or relief organizations. But they continue to accept patients, like Gul Faroza 's two children. 'My son was kicking his hands and feet,' she told us, 'shaking and shivering violently in bed.' Ten miles from the hospital, the children's father showed us where they had been living since the flood destroyed their home. Ten feet away, a water pump still being used even though the water is probably contaminated. The international community has been slow with donations. To reassure them, Pakistan 's prime minister said they'll bring in a third party to manage their relief fund. But so far, Natalie , no group has been named.
MORALES: All right, Stephanie Gosk in Islamabad , thank you so much .