Islamabad, Jul 6 (EFE).- Heavy rains have claimed 77 lives so far in Pakistan, including women and children, during the current monsoon season that started on Jun.14 across the country, according to official sources Wednesday.
“Total deaths in the monsoon are 77 including children, men and women,” Federal Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, said during a press conference in Islamabad.
The minister said 39 people have died in rain related incidents in the western province of Balochistan, six of them on Wednesday.
Rehman termed the deaths a “national tragedy” as hundreds of homes have been destroyed and rescue operations in remote areas have been hampered due to the heavy rains.
She said her ministry was trying to reach out to those affected, through the national and provincial disaster management authorities.
Rehman underlined that Pakistan is among the top most countries affected by climate change.
“Monsoon is 87 percent more than expected (this year) and total of 16 GLOF (glacial lake outburst flooding) events have taken place in northern Pakistan this summer which is higher than the normal average of 5 to 6 in a season,” she said.
Heavy rains have lashed multiple parts of the country this week, with Balochistan being the most severely affected, with 274 percent more precipitation than the average, while in Sindh it was 261 percent, according to the minister.
Urban flooding has been reported in Quetta, Pasni and Turbat areas of the province.
“This is definitely a national disaster (…) especially when so many people are losing their lives,” she stressed.
President Arif Alvi expressed grief over the loss of lives and material damage caused by the rains in Quetta.
He directed the concerned authorities to extend every possible assistance to the people affected by the calamity, a statement from the presidency said.
Meanwhile, the climate change minister said the Meteorological Department has predicted the first phase of the monsoons from Jul.1 to mid-August.
Rehman said the authorities, including the Army, Frontier Corps and law enforcement agencies, have been put on high alert in view of more rains forecast for the next three days across the country, with the southern part expected to be the most affected. EFE