UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie has appealed for greater public support for efforts to provide humanitarian relief to the millions of people whose lives have been devastated by the floods inundating much of Pakistan.

In a video message released today, the actress points to the sheer scale of the disaster.

“One-fifth of Pakistan is under water… and the threat of disease now looms for 20 million affected people. This is not just a humanitarian crisis, it is an economic and social catastrophe. UNHCR is on the ground. The more support we can give, the greater number of tents, food, clean water and medicine will get to the people in need,” she says.

UN refugee agency teams in Pakistan have provided shelter and other emergency supplies to hundreds of thousands of people caught up in the disaster. But with nearly 20 million people estimated to have been affected, the needs of the victims are outpacing the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide assistance. Last week UNHCR revised upwards its global appeal for the Pakistan flood operation to US$120 million from US$41 million.

Angelina Jolie has visited Pakistan on three previous occasions since becoming a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2001. At the outbreak of the current crisis she donated US$100,000 to the agency for its assistance work in the country.

Watch the video here.

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