Tuesday, August 30: Since the start of the monsoon in June, the death toll from precipitation, cloudbursts and levee breaches across Pakistan has surpassed 1,100. About 120 of these deaths have occurred in the last 24 hours alone.
Among the affected regions, Sindh remains the worst-affected region with more than 74 deaths, followed by 31 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Gilgit Baltistan and four in Balochistan. According to the latest report from Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), at least 32 children, 56 men and nine women died in the ongoing floods.
The Indus river, which flows through Pakistan, is at high risk of flooding, and the country is unlikely to recover from torrential rains anytime soon.
The devastating floods alone have caused at least $10 billion in losses, adding to Pakistan’s current economic crisis. As of today, rains and floods have killed and injured thousands of people, placed at least 498,000 in relief camps, and claimed the lives of at least 719,558 livestock.
In addition, approximately 992,871 houses, 3,451 km of roads, 149 bridges and 170 shops were destroyed in the rains. According to Miftah Ismail, the country’s Minister of Finance, all the details of the economic losses on a sectoral basis have not yet been learned.
Pakistani senator and the country’s climate minister, Sherry Rehman, described the current situation in the country as a “serious climate disaster”.
“Right now, in a cascade of relentless heatwaves, wildfires, flash flooding, multiple glacial lake eruptions, flood events, we’re at the zero point of the frontline of extreme weather events, and now it’s breaking through the monsoon of the decade – stop the nationwide turmoil,” Rehman said.
With about a third of the country still under water and the situation worsening, the Pakistani government has requested international assistance.
India and other countries lend a helping hand
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered “heartfelt condolences” to the affected families.
“We are saddened to see the devastation caused by the flooding in Pakistan. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural disaster, and hope for a speedy return to normal.”
Also, Pakistan’s finance minister, Miftah Ismail, announced that their government is considering importing foodstuffs such as onions and tomatoes from India, despite the trade ban imposed in 2019 after the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir in Article 370.
India has provided similar assistance to Pakistan before, particularly after the 2005 earthquake and during the 2010 flood.
Meanwhile, many countries, including the United States, United Arab Emirates and Turkey, expanded their support with money and aid contributions.
The first flight from the UAE carried over 3,000 tons of relief supplies and at least 15 more aircraft loads would land in the country in the coming days.
Likewise, Turkish Red Crescent donated Rs 16,000, 300 kits, 600 jerrycans and 1,500 mosquito nets to 300 families in Jafferabad. The Turkish government also sent 100 tents and 1,000 blankets.
Similarly, Qatar Charity provides shelter to the underprivileged communities of Balochistan in collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.
Canadian Minister of International Development, Harjit Sajjan, said the Canadian government has also set aside $20,000 for flood relief operations.
Officials in Pakistan said more funding is needed despite the large-scale aid.
Along with monetary contributions, Queen Elizabeth also expressed her condolences to Pakistan, claiming United Kindom’s solidarity with the country. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed similar sentiments about the country’s situation.
(with information from Times of India and IANS)
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