Thursday Aug 25, 2022
Pakistan continues to reel from the “climate-induced humanitarian disaster" as climate change has directly affected the South Asian nation in the wake of above-normal rains, glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) and cloudburst.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) revealed that the residents of the four provinces of Pakistan — Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab (south), and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — are fleeing flooding triggered by record monsoon rains.
On the appeal of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, international organisations Thursday decided to donate $500 million for the relief of Pakistani as record monsoon rains have caused a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster", as it killed over 900 people since June.
A report released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) showed nearly 73 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, 82,033 houses were damaged, and 710 cattle were dead
According to NDMA, due to incidents related to heavy monsoon rainfall and floods nearly 400 people, including 191 women, lost their lives. While over 1,000 people suffered injuries. Residents are fleeing flooding triggered by record monsoon rains.
Addressing a press conference today, Climate Change Minister Senator Sherry Rehman said the country had so far received an average of 166 millimetres of rainfall during the month of August, which was 241% above normal, whereas its southern parts particularly Sindh, got 784% more than normal average rain of the season which was “alarming”.
The Met Office statistics were startling, she said, adding the flash floods caused by massive rains had swept away bridges and communication infrastructure in various areas of the provinces.
The current deluge in the Indus River was even more than the super flood of 2010, Sherry remarked.
The minister said a national emergency had been declared in the country as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had postponed their official visits abroad.
“We are in the eighth spell of monsoon rains with southern Pakistan receiving heavy rains, including 23 districts of Sindh declared as calamity-hit.”
She said as half of the country in the south was inundated, the armed forces and NDMA along with provincial governments were actively engaged in rescue and relief activities.
“Almost 30 million people are without shelter, thousands of them displaced and have no food. As needs assessment is underway and will be completed soon, which will help in approaching donor agencies for relief and rescue as the crisis has surpassed the capacity of the government.”
The minister underlined that there was a forecast of extended monsoon activity in September, which was again "alarming".
She said the Sukkur and Taunsa barrages had high water flow and all available machinery and other resources were being utilised in the affected region. At present all the departments were focused on flood-hit areas to cope with any evolving situation.
Sherry said some 913 people had perished in rain-related incidents, with a greater number of deaths of the children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, the number of the injured was also reported high, she added.
She said it was now time for donors and the world to support Pakistan, which had always volunteered to assist nations, including its neighbours during natural disasters.
PM Shehbaz has cancelled his London visit in view of floods in the country. On his return home from Qatar, he chaired a meeting regarding the flood situation and relief activities.
The premier had to leave for London from Qatar due to the ailment of his granddaughter who is under treatment at the British capital. In view of the flood situation, the prime minister, however, decided to immediately return to the country.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that PM Shehbaz will visit Sukkur tomorrow (Friday) to review flood rescue and relief activities.
“PM chaired international partners meeting for cooperation in flood rescue, relief, rehabilitation right after reaching Islamabad at the Economic Affairs Division,” she said in a tweet on Thursday.
Marriyum said the NDMA chairman and the representatives of provinces briefed the prime minister on flood relief and rescue, and cash distribution updates.
As heavy rain continued to pound much of Pakistan, PTI Chairman Imran Khan decided to visit the flood-affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
Speaking to journalists, former information minister Fawad Chaudhry said Khan will visit flood-hit areas tomorrow, adding that relief operation will be conducted in DG Khan and Rajanpur on priority basis.
“The state has distanced itself from the issues of the people as they are more focused on registering ‘false’ cases against PTI chief,” he said, criticising the authorities concerned for their negligence.
According to the notification, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine informed the prime minister about immediate assistance worth $350 million. It was learnt that the funds will be fully disbursed by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, the other assistance include:
It should be noted that Pakistan is eighth on a list of countries deemed most vulnerable to extreme weather caused by climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index compiled by environmental NGO Germanwatch.