Disasters & Accidents

Pakistan calls for international aid as floods top 1,000 deaths

Islamabad, Aug 28 (EFE).- Pakistan on Sunday called on international assistance as the death toll from flash floods surpassed 1,000 due to heavy monsoon rains that have been battering the South Asian country since June.

“Some countries have promised relief aid and we have received some but of course we need more to assist millions of people who are affected by the floods,” Planning, Development and Reform Minister Ahsan Iqbal told Efe.

The United States, United Kingdom, China and United Arab Emirates have responded to the country’s call for help, but more funds are needed for Pakistan to deal with the devastating floods which are the worst to hit the country since 2010 when over 2,000 died.

The first flight with assistance and relief goods is scheduled to land Sunday afternoon at the Noor Khan airbase in northern Rawalpindi, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

It will be followed by another 15 planes carrying humanitarian aid that will arrive in the coming days from the UAE.

At least 1,033 people have died since heavy rains started on June 14, with 119 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Rainfall has also left 1,527 injured in the last two months, the NDMA report added.

Minister Iqbal, who also chairs the Flood Relief Fund, said all government agencies were working day and night to provide rescue and relief services to flood victims.

“The scale of suffering is unprecedented but so is our resolve,” he tweeted Sunday.

Floods have wreaked havoc in recent days, mainly in the north, due to the swelling of the Kabul and Swat rivers which cross the Nowshera and Charsadda districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Footage has shown how hundreds of houses in various towns have been washed away, forcing thousands to flee and spend the night on the roads with their cattle.

The Indus River, which flows through the country from north to south, is also at risk of imminent flooding at several points, which has prompted local authorities to evacuate several towns.

According to an official at the Jinnah Barrage near Kalabagh in northern Pakistan, inflows of 440,000 cubic feet per second are being recorded posing a very high risk of overflow.

“The Jinnah Barrage is likely to record a heavy water flow of 700,000 cusecs during 24 to 48 hours,” Khalid Farid, head of the dam, told Efe.

Authorities warned of a second wave of flooding in the southern province of Sindh, where millions of people are already sleeping in tents after heavy rains ravaged the region.

The government has declared an emergency in the areas affected by the floods and the army has been deployed to help the victims.

Pakistan has been plunged into an environmental crisis at a time when its economy is faltering with depleted foreign exchange reserves, a plummeting local currency and soaring inflation which topped 44% this week.

Pakistan is among the 10 countries most affected by climate change in the world.

The South Asian nation was struck by an intense heat wave earlier this year that caused numerous deaths and property losses for thousands of people.

During the monsoon season in South Asia — which lasts from June to September — landslides and floods are common.EFE

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