Former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan today warned that the flooding in his country could have a greater impact that the Indian Ocean tsunami.
More than 200,000 people died when the huge wave devastated large swathes of the coastline of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and other countries in 2004.
The flooding which has laid waste to a vast area of Pakistan has so far killed more than 2,000 people.
But Khan said the knock-on affects could devastate the country for years to come.
He told ITV's Daybreak programme: "This is a sort of unfolding tragedy where 20 million people are affected so it is in fact much bigger than the tsunami or the earthquake because over a period of time you can have famines, people have lost everything, their crops, their animals so you have 20 million people affected, no food, no house, living in open spaces with contaminated water.
He added: "Over a period of time this could be a bigger disaster than either the tsunami or the earthquake we had five years back."
The former cricketer turned politician launched The Imran Khan Flood Relief organisation which will seek to tackle both the immediate emergency and the long-term rehabilitation work required.
He acknowledged that there was fear of donating money due to perceived problems with corruption in Pakistan.
He said: "To people here I would just say this is potentially a huge disaster, it could really bring the whole country down, this is the bread basket of the country, all along the river plains is the most fertile area which has been swept away."
The aid appeal for the country by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has so far raised more than £40 million.Reuse content