More than 33 million people were affected by “the worst humanitarian disaster of this decade,” local authorities say
Floods that have been wreaking havoc across Pakistan in recent months killed more than 1,000 people while injuring and displacing many more, local officials said on Sunday.
According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, the deadly monsoon rains and floods have claimed at least 1,033 lives since June, with no less than 1,456 injured. Moreover, the agency said that 119 people had been killed just in the previous 24 hours.
On Thursday, Sherry Rehman, the nation’s minister for climate change, revealed that at least 33 million had been affected by the calamity, calling the floods “unprecedented” and “the worst humanitarian disaster of this decade.”
“Pakistan is going through its eighth cycle of monsoon while normally the country has only three to four cycles of rain,” she said. “The percentages of super flood torrents are shocking.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has asked for international help to respond to the disaster while declaring a national emergency. In response to his request, the UN will make a “flash appeal” to the international community to collect $160 million in order to help people struck by the floods, according to Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Asim Iftikhar.
Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan, but this monsoon season turned out to be unprecedented, laying waste across all four of the country’s provinces. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of Thursday, 184,000 people have been displaced and forced to seek shelter in relief camps. In total, nearly 300,000 homes have been destroyed, with many roads rendered impassable and the local population hit by blackouts.
Meanwhile, any future reconstruction efforts will not be easy for cash-strapped Pakistan. Islamabad will have to reduce its spending so that the International Monetary Fund approves a bailout package that may play a critical role in thwarting economic meltdown.
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