Islamabad, Dec 21 (EFE).- More than 20 million people are still dependent on aid, Pakistan prime minister Shehbaz Sharif said Wednesday, as the country continues its recovery from the devastation caused by the unprecedented floods six months ago.
“There are still 20 million people who are dependent on aid and more than 9 million children need support and medicines,” Sharif said addressing flood victims in Khairpur in Sindh province during an inspection visit to one of the areas of the tragedy.
The situation in the affected areas remains alarming as millions of people are still without shelter despite the onset of winter.
In addition, the spread of waterborne diseases and inadequate health services are also a challenge for the victims.
“We have to go for the rehabilitation phase, but even today eight million people are still affected by the floods and there the relief and rescue efforts are as if it was three months ago,” the prime minister said.
In Sindh, stagnant water still poses a major problem for locals as they are unable to move around or cultivate the land.
“Billions of rupees are needed to provide people with what they need to survive in the winter,” Sharif said, adding that “although funds are coming in, the suffering is equally endless”.
According to Pakistani government estimates, the catastrophe has caused the country more than $30 billion in damages and losses.
In a statement a day earlier, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said that with 20 million people still dependent on humanitarian aid, the United Nations has received only 30%, or $262 million of the $816 million of funds under the flood response plan.
Rehman said nearly 3.9 million people in Sindh and 1.6 million in Balochistan face severe food insecurity, with 5.5 million people no longer having access to safe and clean drinking water.
Pakistan witnessed unprecedented monsoon rains and subsequent floods that submerged a third of the country under water. More than 1,700 people died and more than 33 million were affected. EFE