Pakistan floods hit 33 million people in worst disaster in a decade, minister says

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According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 937 people have died as a result of heavy rainfall and flooding in the South Asian country since mid-June.

Sherry Rehman, the climate change minister, called the floods “unprecedented” and “the worst humanitarian disaster of this decade.”

“Pakistan is going through its eighth monsoon cycle, when the country normally only has three to four rain cycles,” Rehman said. “The percentages of superflood torrents are shocking.”

In particular, she highlighted the impact on the south of the country, adding that “maximum” relief efforts are underway.

The NDMA, the Pakistan Army and the provincial disaster management authority are working to help those affected, but there is an “urgent” need for shelter and assistance due to the increasing number of homeless and displaced families, she said.

The southern province of Sindh, which has been hard hit by the floods, has requested 1 million tents, while the nearby province of Balochistan has requested 100,000 tents, it added.

“Pakistan’s priority right now is this climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions,” Rehman said, urging the international community to provide aid given Pakistan’s “limited” resources.

Residents take shelter in a makeshift camp in Rajanpur district, Pakistan's Punjab province on Aug. 24.

Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal separately told Reuters that 30 million people were affected, a figure that would represent about 15% of the South Asian country’s population.

UN agency Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in an update on Thursday that monsoon rains have affected some 3 million people in Pakistan, 184,000 of whom have been displaced to relief camps across the country.

More than 900 dead in Pakistan's monsoon rains and floods, including 326 children

Financing and reconstruction efforts will be a challenge for poor Pakistan, which must cut spending to ensure the International Monetary Fund approves the release of much-needed bailout money.

The NDMA said in a report that 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) of roads across the country had been damaged and more than 82,000 homes were partially or completely damaged in the past 24 hours.

More than 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of roads, 130 bridges and 495,000 houses have been damaged since mid-June when the monsoon began, according to the latest NDMA situation report, figures also in the OHCA report.

‘The rain won’t stop’

A vast majority of this damage is in Sindh.

“Brother, the rain has not stopped for the past three months… We are living in a rickshaw with our children because the roof of our mud house is leaking,” a woman who refused to be named told Reuters TV in Hyderabad, Sindh’s second largest city.

Army forces distribute food and supplies to displaced people at a relief camp in southern Pakistan's Jamshoro district on Aug. 24.

Sitting with three of her children in the rickshaw, she said, “Where can we go? The gutters are overflowing and our courtyard is full of sewage. Our houses and alleys have turned into a floating garbage can.”

OCHA also warned that warnings had been issued for floods, river overflows and landslides in several parts of Pakistan, as well as heavy rain forecast for the next two days in most of the country.

Rehman said Sindh received 784% more rain this month than the August average, while Balochistan province had received nearly 500% more.

Twenty-three districts of Sindh have been hit by disasters, she said.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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