Death toll from Pakistan’s devastating monsoon floods tops 1,000 as several countries including Qatar and Iran pledge emergency aid following deluge described as ‘humanitarian disaster of epic proportions’ “.
The death toll since June has reached 1,033 with 119 people dead in the past 24 hours, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Sunday.
He warned of “very high” level flooding in some areas along the Kabul and Indus rivers, particularly in Nowshera in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and Kalabagh and Chashma in Punjab province.
Large parts of the country remain submerged – especially the provinces of Balochistan, KP and Sindh in the south – as heavy rains continue to hit parts of the country. At least 347 people have died in Sindh, followed by Balochistan (238) and KP (226).
The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent, but each year it also brings a wave of destruction. This year, rainfall in some areas has been 600% above average.
Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani senator and the country’s top climate official, said in a video posted to Twitter that Pakistan is experiencing a “serious climate catastrophe, one of the harshest in a decade”.
“We are right now at ground zero on the front line of extreme weather events, in a relentless cascade of heat waves, wildfires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flooding and now the monstrous monsoon of the decade is wreaking havoc – stopping the havoc across the country,” she said.
Officials say this year’s catastrophic flooding has affected more than 33 million people – one in seven Pakistanis – destroying crops, livestock and almost a million homes.
The NDMA said more than 809,000 hectares (two million acres) of crops were wiped out, 3,451 kilometers (2,150 miles) of roads destroyed and 149 bridges washed away.
Khaista Rehman, 55, unrelated to the climate minister, took refuge with his wife and three children on the edge of the Islamabad-Peshawar highway after his house in Charsadda was submerged overnight.
“Thank goodness we are now safe on this fairly high road from the flooded area,” he said. “Our crops have disappeared and our house is destroyed, but I am grateful to Allah that we are alive and I will start life again with my sons.”
The the government said the devastating floods a “national emergency” and seeks help from friendly countries.
“We are witnessing complete devastation – hundreds of thousands of houses collapsed, over a thousand people injured. It is clear that this is a massive humanitarian and climate emergency,” said Save the Children Country Director Khuram Gondal.
Reporting from Charsadda district in northern Pakistan, Al Jazeera’s Kama Hyder said rescue efforts were further complicated by “freezing” water temperatures, with much of the floodwater coming from mountainous areas. .
“The water is gushing out and flooding the villagers, and that of course poses a serious threat,” he said. “There is significant material damage… People are sheltering under plastic sheeting on top of poles. They told us that they received help from local people who brought them food and water. However, they say they are in dire need of tents and tarps.
🚨Floods in Pakistan:
— Ahmer Khan (@ahmermkhan) August 27, 2022
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has postponed an official trip to the UK as he appeals for funds from friendly countries and international institutions.
Sharif visited flood victims in the Balochistan city of Jafferabad on Sunday. He vowed that the government would provide housing for anyone who lost their homes.
Sharif on Saturday delivered relief supplies to affected people in flood-hit Sindh province. He was seen dropping relief packages from a helicopter to people below. Earlier on Saturday, the Prime Minister surveyed the damage in the province and met displaced people at a relief camp.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – among other leaders – have held talks with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about the dire flood situation.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his support for Pakistan. “France is ready to help,” he said in this tweet.
The Qatar Red Crescent Society announced on Saturday the allocation of $100,000 to flood victims.
Climate Minister Rehman told Turkish media TRT World that by the time the rains recede, “we may well have a quarter or a third of Pakistan under water.”
“This is something that is a global crisis and of course we will need better planning and sustainable development on the ground… We will need climate resilient crops as well as structures,” said- she declared.