ISLAMABAD – As many as 903 people were killed, nearly 1,300 injured and thousands left homeless as heavy monsoon rains and flash floods continued to play havoc in Pakistan since mid-June, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Wednesday.
More than 70 people died and over 82,000 houses were damaged over the past 24 hours in various rain-related incidents in parts of the country, according to the NDMA statistics.
As the country struggles to cope with the aftermath of torrential rains that triggered massive floods, Pakistan urged the international community to help with relief efforts.
Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said that the current climate catastrophe needs immediate International and national mobilization of humanitarian efforts, not just in the form of food, shelter and basic survival amenities, but also in rescue efforts.
“Given the scale of the disaster, there is no question of the provinces or even Islamabad being able to cope with this magnitude of climate catastrophe on their own. Lives are at risk, and thousands are homeless. It is important that international partners mobilize assistance,” the minister said.
The southern Sindh province remained one of the worst-hit regions, where 293 people died in different rain-related incidents and subsequent flooding, followed by 230 in the southwestern Balochistan province, said the NDMA.
The total fatalities also included 169 reported in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and 164 in the eastern Punjab province.
Floods have also damaged over 495,000 houses across Pakistan apart from washing away roads and damaging bridges since mid-June, according to the NDMA.
Considering the prediction of more rains in the country, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday directed the concerned authorities to expedite rescue and relief operations in flood-affected areas.
“The rehabilitation in the calamity-hit areas is a gigantic task … This is possible only through collective efforts,” Sharif said.
Meanwhile, local authorities along with the Pakistani army are continuing with rescue and relief activities, and sending food items, tents, medicines, and other essential items to almost all the flood-hit areas in the South Asian country.
Talking to Xinhua, Naseer Ibraheem, a volunteer for a local non-governmental organization in the southern Badin district, said that the recent spell of heavy rains has caused unprecedented destruction in the district and the government has declared it a calamity-hit area.
“I have never seen such damage caused by rains in the past. It has rained many folds more in Sindh. People are forced to live in makeshift camps and tents as they have lost their houses to heavy downpours and floods,” Ibraheem said.
“Our organization, like several others in the area, is providing food, tents and cash money to help stranded people … I cannot describe how unfortunate the situation is for them … they have lost almost everything they had to rains and floods. They need our help,” he added.