Millions of Pakistanis have been badly affected due to the unprecedented floods, the worst in a decade, and are in dire need of help as toll reached 1,136. The unusually strong monsoon rains have left a trail of deadly havoc across Pakistan as the death toll in the country crossed the 1,000 mark on Monday.
A third of Pakistan is under water as a result of flooding caused by record monsoon rains, Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said, calling it a ‘crisis of unimaginable proportions’, news agency AFP reported. The minister termed the situation as ‘monster monsoon of the decade’.
At least 1,136 have been killed due to floods and another 1,634 injured, according to the latest data issued by the National Disaster Management Authority, the chief national body tasked to deal with calamities, news agency PTI reported. Thousands of people living in the mountains have been ordered to evacuate- but despite the help of helicopters, authorities are still struggling to help those who are trapped.
According to officials, at least 33 million people- one in every seven Pakistanis — have been affected by the floods. Unprecedented flash floods caused by historic monsoon rains have washed away roads, crops, infrastructure and bridges.
The toll due to floods could be much higher, the officials said. Thousands of villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province remain cut off from the rest of the country as swollen rivers destroyed roads and bridges.
Officials said the final death toll due to floods could be much higher, a grim forecast as thousands of villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province remain cut off from the rest of the country as swollen rivers destroyed roads and bridges, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.
APPEAL FOR HELP
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has launched an international appeal seeking funds for relief and rehabilitation of people affected due to floods across the country. The Sharif-led cash-strapped government has appealed to the nation to extend assistance to the flood-hit people as the government needs additional funds to rehabilitate the flood victims.
The United Nations and Islamabad on Tuesday will launch a formal appeal for USD 160 million to fund emergency aid for Pakistan.
“The situation is expected to worsen with more ongoing rainfall,” Stephane Dujarric, the UN Secretary-General spokesman, said during a press briefing Monday.
“We along with the (Pakistani) government are planning a flash appeal of $160 million for immediate relief activities,” he said, noting the request will officially launch Tuesday. An additional USD 3 million has been released by the United Nations emergency response fund.
IMF APPROVES USD 1.17 BN BAILOUT FUND
Pakistan took a sigh of relief as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday approved the revival of its Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme after which the cash-strapped country will receive the 7th and 8th tranche of USD 1.17 billion.
The decision was taken at the IMF’s executive board meeting in Washington, which would immediately provide USD 1.17 billion to foreign exchange starving Pakistan.
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the International Monetary Fund’s Board has approved the revival of Pakistan’s EFF program.
“We should now be getting the 7th & 8th tranche of USD 1.17 billion. I want to thank the Prime Minister @CMShehbaz for taking so many tough decisions and saving Pakistan from default. I congratulate the nation,” tweeted Ismail, who had left no stone unturned to fulfill the hefty demands of the donor.
FLOODS INFLICT LOSS OF $10 BILLION
Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that the country has suffered economic losses of over USD 10 billion due to rains and floods that inundated vast areas.
“A very early, preliminary estimate is that it is big, it is higher than $10bn (£8.5bn),” Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal told Reuters.
Almost half of the country’s cotton crop has been washed away and vegetable, fruit, and rice fields have sustained significant damage, he added. He further said these were initial assessments which might escalate after conducting surveys on the ground, The News reported.
Southern, southwestern and northern Pakistan have been the hardest hit by the floods, which have swept large swaths of farmland and stored crops.
According to the data released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), around 1,600 people were injured and more than 7,19,000 livestock had perished. The floods have destroyed 3,451 km of roads, 149 bridges, 170 shops and 9,49,858 houses.
Provinces like Sindh and Balochistan are the worst affected as vast farmlands in these areas are now just landscapes of water. The mountainous regions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been badly hit.
At least 11 people, including women and a child, were drowned and several others remained missing when a boat carrying 30 flood victims capsized in the swollen Indus river in Sindh’s Sehwan on Monday. The incident happened when the people affected by the floods were migrating from submerged villages to a safer location.
A senior police official said that Sindh police officials along with the Pakistan Navy rescued seven people while the search for the remaining missing victims is underway.
HOW HAS THE WORLD RESPONDED?
After Pakistan sought international help the world has responded with humanitarian assistance and solidarity messages have been coming from several countries. Several countries such as the United Nations, United Kingdom, UAE and others have contributed to a disaster appeal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said he was saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan and hoped for an early restoration of normalcy.
“Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy,” Modi said in a tweet.
Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 29, 2022
Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent a message of condolence to his Pakistani counterpart Arif Alvi. China said it will continue to provide urgently needed assistance to Pakistan and support the country in its disaster relief work, Xi said.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth said she was deeply saddened by the loss of lives and property in Pakistan due to the floods, asserting that the UK stands in solidarity with the country.
“My thoughts go to the victims and those helping with an heroic relief effort. The United Kingdom is sending support and continues to stand by the people of Pakistan in their hour of need,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted.
Qatar Charity, a humanitarian and development non-governmental organisation, has delivered aid to flood-affected Afghan refugees and the underprivileged members of the host community in Balochistan, in collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.
The Canadian government allocated USD 20,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for flood relief operations in Pakistan, Canada’s International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said.
Canada is also a donor to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, which has allocated USD 3 million for flood response.
(With agency inputs)
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