Wednesday Aug 24, 2022
Pakistan has urged the international community and philanthropists to help with relief efforts as it struggles to cope with the aftermath of torrential rains that triggered massive floods, killing more than 900 people.
According to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), heavy monsoon rainfall and floods have affected some 2.3 million people in Pakistan since mid-June, destroying at least 95,350 houses and damaging a further 224,100.
Sindh in the southeast and Balochistan in the southwest are the two most affected provinces. More than 504,000 livestock have been killed, nearly all of them in Balochistan, while damage to nearly 3,000 km of roads and 129 bridges have impeded movement around flood-affected areas.
July's national rainfall was almost 200% above average, Sardar Sarfaraz, a senior official at the metrological office told Reuters on Wednesday, making it the wettest July since 1961.
Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, in a Twitter post, revealed that over 900 people have died and thousands of people have been displaced due to floods, adding that a “humanitarian crisis” had arisen across the country.
The main supply route from the port city of Karachi has been cut for more than a week after a bridge linking it to Balochistan was swept away, while dozens of small dams in the province were overwhelmed.
“The situation is changing every day on the ground; our death toll has gone up to 903, thousands are homeless without shelter without flood,” Rehman told Becky Anderson in an interview to CNN.
“We have monsoons every year...it is nothing like this. This is torrential downpour of biblical proportions,” Rehman said, adding that it is a serious “humanitarian disaster”.
“The cities aren't geared for the type of climate resilience that is required for this consistent torrential downpour,” she added.
On the other hand, Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Ahsan Iqbal, in a press conference, said that the federal government has also appealed to the international development partners for assistance, so the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the flooding can be started once the water recedes.
In Sindh, the government closed all educational institutions in anticipation of fresh rain forecast for Wednesday and Thursday and an airport in the Nawabshah district remains closed with the airfield almost fully submerged.
Heavy rain continued to pound much of Pakistan, including Peshawar, Dera Ghazi Khan, Pishin, Khuzdar, Quetta, Chaman, Khairpur, Sukkur, with authorities reporting more than a dozen deaths — including nine children — in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, on the instructions of KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan an emergency has been declared in Tank.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb requested the nation to donate money for the rain-affected areas in the Prime Minister Relief Fund Account 2022.
“All commercial banks and their branches can collect donations in the Prime Minister Flood Relief Fund 2022 as per State Bank of Pakistan circular,” she said, adding that overseas Pakistanis can also send donations through wire transfers, money service bureaus, money transfer operators and exchange houses.
Amid a dire need to help flood-hit people, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, in a televised message, urged philanthropists to come out and help the affected people of the province which is “enduring a catastrophe like never before.”
Sindh government has announced the Sindh Flood Relief Fund for affectees of the ongoing torrential rains and flooding in the province, a notification issued by the provincial finance department read.
The fund has been initiated to seek financial support for victims in the province hit hard by extreme weather patterns.
Donations for the fund will also be made through net monthly salaries of ministers including Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP's provincial assembly members, advisors, CM's special assistants, Parliamentary secretaries, officers, and officials.
“We are trying to arrange tents, mosquito nets, beds, edibles, medicines, and other items for affectees,” he said, ensuring the provision of all essential items within a few days.
"Philanthropists, welfare organisations, and donor agencies should visit Sindh to assess the situation and provide support to distressed people," he said, also requesting affluent citizens to come forward to support victims.