Tuesday 30 August: Since the start of the monsoon in June, the death toll associated with rainfall, cloud eruptions and dam breaches across Pakistan has exceeded 1,100. Of those deaths, nearly 120 have occurred in just the past 24 hours.
Among the affected areas, Sindh remains the worst affected with the death toll reaching over 74, 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 have died in the ongoing floods.
The Indus River that flows through Pakistan remains at high risk of flooding, and the country is unlikely to get any respite from the torrential rains anytime soon.
The devastating floods alone have resulted in a loss of at least $10 billion, adding to the current economic crisis in Pakistan. To date, rains and floods have killed and injured thousands, displaced at least 498,000 to relief camps, and claimed at least 719,558 head of livestock.
Moreover, the rains destroyed about 992,871 homes, 3,451 km of roads, 149 bridges and 170 shops. According to the country’s Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail, full details of the sector-wide economic losses are yet to be obtained.
Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani Senator and Climate Minister for the country, described the current situation in the country as a “serious climate catastrophe”.
“We are currently at ground zero on the frontline of extreme weather events, in a relentless series of heat waves, wildfires, flash floods, multiple eruptions of glacial lakes, flood events, and now the brutal monsoons of this decade are unending,” Rahman said: “Stop the chaos across the country.”
With nearly a third of the country still under water and the situation worsening, the Pakistani government has appealed for international help.
India and other countries lend a helping hand
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the affected families.
“Sad to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims, injured and all affected by this natural disaster and hope things will return to normal at an early date.”
Moreover, Pakistani Finance Minister Muftah Ismail announced that his government is considering importing foodstuffs like onions and tomatoes from India, despite the trade embargo imposed in 2019 after the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir in Article 370.
India has previously provided similar aid to Pakistan, particularly after the earthquake in 2005 and during floods in 2010.
Meanwhile, many countries, including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, provided their support through cash and relief contributions.
The first flight from the UAE carried more than 3,000 tons of relief items, and at least 15 more aircraft will land in the country in the coming days.
Similarly, the Turkish Red Crescent Society contributed 16,000 rupees, 300 kits, 600 water bottles and 1,500 mosquito nets to 300 families in Jafarabad. The Turkish government also sent 100 tents and 1,000 blankets.
Similarly, Qatar Charity provides shelter to underprivileged communities in Balochistan in cooperation with the Regional Disaster Management Authority.
Canadian International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said the Canadian government has allocated $20,000 for flood relief operations as well.
Officials in Pakistan said that despite the large-scale aid, more money was needed.
Besides financial contributions, Queen Elizabeth offered her condolences to Pakistan, stressing that the UK stands in solidarity with the country. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed similar sentiments about the state of the country.
(with inputs from Times of India and IANS)
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