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Devastating floods claim over 900 lives in Pakistan



ISLAMABAD: The severest monsoon spells in over a decade that caused flash floods submerging half of Pakistan have so far claimed over 900 human lives and close to 10 lakh livestock, apart from damaging thousands of houses and lakhs of acres of standing crops, leaving the country crying for the attention of their elected representatives, who have virtually gone missing.
Experts say the destruction caused by flash floods this year far exceeds the damages and casualties caused by rains in 2010. The restive southwestern Balochistan, Sindh, southern Punjab and the northern areas have been hit hard by the calamity that has left thousands of people homeless – without food and shelter.
The ongoing rains that began in mid-June, according to NDMA (national disaster management authority), a state-run agency mandated to deal with the whole spectrum of disaster management activities, have so far killed more than 903 people, majority of them in Sindh and Balochistan. Karachi, Pakistan’s financial heartland, presents a picture of ruin with roads and streets submerged in water.
Thousands of families remain stranded in Balochistan, as the torrential rainfall has cut off road linkages between the province and the rest of the country. Several villages are now completely underwater and thousands of families have been compelled to live under an open sky.
According to the NDMA, Balochistan has reported 225 deaths and 95 injuries so far. It said at least 5,00,000 livestock had perished, while 710km of roads had been damaged and around 40,000 houses destroyed. Nearly 7,00,000 acres of crops across the province were lost, with officials estimating the total loss at $10m so far.
In Sindh, the NDMA claimed, around 250 people have died and over 700 have been injured. Additionally, it stated, about 3,150 livestock had perished; 2,28,677 homes partially damaged and 1,04,180 houses completely destroyed.
Sherry Rehman, minister for climate change, said apart from the deaths, 1,300 people have been left injured. “Since June, 903 people, including 326 children and 191 women, have died in various monsoon-related incidents and floods,” she said, adding that at least 19,89,868 acres of crop had been completely destroyed in Sindh, posing a threat to the country’s food security. The Khairpur district of Sindh, known as the world’s largest dates-producing region, has been inundated with 70% of the date crop in the district being destroyed.
In southern Punjab, the NDMA said, 2,02,797 livestock had perished, while 33,224 houses had been partially damaged and 5,663 completely destroyed.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the NDMA reported that the number of casualties has risen to 168, with 228 injuries. It said 6,736 houses had been partially damaged and 7,276 fully destroyed.
Speaking to reporters, local residents repeatedly complained of government’s inaction, noting that their elected representatives have gone missing. “The political leaders seem unaware that half of Pakistan has drowned. The coalition government is boasting of saving the country from the so-called financial default, while opposition leader Imran Khan has been drumming up support to get real Independence for the country after 75 years,” said Musa Rasan, a resident of northern Swat hill-station, urging the politicians to save people affected by the catastrophe.
Unfortunately, the conditions are feared to deteriorate further as more rains are expected in the coming days.
The data released by NDMA claimed that the average rainfall this year was 267mm, compared with the 30-year average of 119mm — an increase of 124%.
“From Balochistan, the monsoon system has moved to Sindh where 30 districts are underwater. The magnitude of it can be accessed from the fact that it has rained more than 395% in Sindh and 379% in Balochistan above the average rainfall,” said Rehman.
The minister stressed the need for immediate humanitarian and rescue aid from the international community, saying that the country could not cope with the situation on its own.


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Date: August 24, 2022