The extent of the floods in Pakistan in maps, photos and videos

Ratodero, a town in Pakistan’s Sindh province, about 500 km north of Karachi, was badly hit by recent floods and houses were destroyed on August 29. (Video: Reuters)

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“A monsoon on steroids.”

Officials have struggled to put into words the scale of the floods that have destroyed large parts of Pakistan. More than 1,000 people have died and tens of millions more have been affected by months of relentless rain.

Flooding has turned catastrophic over the past few weeks as monsoon season rainfall overwhelmed low-lying areas near the Indus River. Water poured from its banks into the surrounding plains, destroying infrastructure and homes.

Maxar Technologies has released satellite images of the town of Rojhan in the state of Punjab before and during the floods which showed entire communities cut off.

As Pakistan grapples with the loss of homes and farmland as well as the risk of disease, many fear the country’s humanitarian disaster is just beginning.

190% more precipitation than normal

Unusual rains began across Pakistan in June after months of historic heat waves and little rainfall.

The ground was dry and loose from the record heat, causing landslides across the country. The melting of glaciers has caused flooding.

Rainfall increased further with the onset of the monsoon season in July, which became the wettest on record since 1961, according to Pakistan’s Meteorological Department.

Pakistan has seen eight rounds of widespread rains this monsoon season, about double the normal amount. The country experienced 190% more rainfall than average between early June and late August. As the Indus River swelled from constant rainfall and glaciers melted, low-lying areas were devastated.

The past two weeks have brought even more rainfall to the southern region of Pakistan.


Precipitation estimate over 15 days

Source: NASA Global Precipitation

Measurement task

Precipitation estimate over 15 days

Source: NASA Global Precipitation

Measurement task

Precipitation estimate over 15 days

Source: NASA

Global precipitation

Measurement task

Satellite images from August 28-30 showed visible areas of flooding.

Balochistan and Sindh provinces recorded rainfall 410% and 466% above average, respectively, from early June to 29 August. The floods that followed ravaged cities and upended lives.


Pakistan floods detected since

satellite imagery on August 28 and 30.

Source: NASA Earth/MODIS, Facebook

and Columbia University-CIESIN

Pakistan floods detected by satellite

images on August 28 and 30.

Pakistan

population

density

show

Source: NASA Earth/MODIS, Facebook

and Columbia University-CIESIN

Pakistan floods detected since

satellite imagery on August 28 and 30

Pakistan

population

density

show

Source: NASA Earth/MODIS,

Facebook and Colombia

University-CIESIN

“Rains have been pouring down in my village for the past two months,” said Zahid Ali Jalalani, a 35-year-old farmer from Khairpur district, Sindh, who spoke by phone with The Washington Post. After a canal burst last week, her village was flooded overnight, with water levels reaching 10ft in some areas. Across the south, families waded through high water in search of dry land.

People waded through chest-deep floodwaters in Mingora, Pakistan on August 24 as floods wreaked havoc in Swat district. (Video: Sungin Khan via Storyful)

“It was the most terrible night of my life,” he said. “My house is well built, but at one point it seemed like the walls were shaking.”

More than 1,160 dead

The extreme floods have killed more than 1,160 people, including many children, according to the Pakistani government.

Jalalani came out of his house to the sound of cries for help, he recalls. He said he spent more than six hours rescuing people who were trapped by the water, which had overshot their shoulders. He knew a man who had drowned.

“He was under a pile of rubble, and we couldn’t get him out,” Jalalani said. “It was so dark.”

Hundreds of people from his village are in a makeshift camp, while there are nearly 500,000 people in displacement camps across the country.

Thousands more who have fled their homes in Sindh are still struggling to find care. Many have walked for days in search of shelter and have pitched tents along the province’s main road. Others have moved into abandoned buildings.

At a high school in the city of Jamshoro, hundreds of people crammed into classrooms and surrounding gardens. Most had nothing but the clothes they had fled in.

Ghulam Qadir, 17, escaped from his village two weeks ago. He and five members of his family have been sleeping in a classroom for over a week.

“We left our house when the water almost reached my neck,” Qadir said. His house had started to crumble. Two rooms collapsed and another was beginning to collapse. “I was worried about my family, especially the children,” he said.

The government estimates that 33 million people have been affected by the floods, about 13% of the population.

Pakistanis in Balochistan were left homeless on August 28, after the area was inundated with heavy rains and floods. (Video: Associated Press)

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that 888 health facilities were damaged, even as experts have warned that the disaster could lead to an increase in disease and malnutrition. Standing water can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and malaria.

Vector-borne disease researcher Erum Khan said dengue cases had already increased since the floods. His laboratory at the Aga Khan University in Karachi reported more than 200 cases in August, compared to less than 30 in April. “The actual numbers are probably much higher,” Khan added.

The destruction rendered parts of the country incapable of functioning. Officials said Tuesday that one million homes were destroyed, along with 2,100 miles of road, roughly the distance between DC and Salt Lake City. Bridges and dams were also destroyed. Pakistan’s Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that more than $10 billion was needed to rebuild.

Thousands of hectares of farmland are under water and aid workers are struggling to reach isolated communities.

“What lies ahead are food shortages affecting villages and towns,” Khan said.

Sindh’s agricultural economy “has totally collapsed”, Iqbal told a news conference on Tuesday. “Nearly half of our cotton crop is destroyed,” he said. Rice was also damaged and 700,000 head of cattle were lost across the country. He called the floods a “climate disaster” and said Pakistan, one of the lowest carbon dioxide emitters per capita in the world, was suffering the heaviest consequences of climate change.

“Someone is paying the price in the developing world,” Iqbal said.

Villagers in Dera Murad Jamali, Pakistan faced hardship on August 28 as most of their belongings and sources of income were washed away by the recent floods. (Video: Associated Press)

Ruby Mellen, Kasha Patel and Laris Karklis reported from Washington. Susannah George reported from Kabul. Haq Nawaz Khan reported from Jamshoro, Pakistan. Shaiq Hussain reported from Islamabad. Gerry Shih reported from Delhi.

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