Death toll, property damages from floods in Pakistan keep rising
By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD (AA) - The death toll and property damages from floods in Pakistan kept rising as 10 more people died and the total number of houses damaged across the country crossed two million, officials said on Wednesday.
At least 10 deaths and over 50,000 house damages were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of casualties to 1,569 since mid-June, according to the country's National Disaster Management Authority’s latest data.
So far 801,633 houses have been completely destroyed while 1.2 million houses are partially damaged across the South Asian country.
A senior government minister on Wednesday regretted the slow response to the suffering of people in the flood-hit areas and said people are still facing a shortage of tents.
“Supply of tents is not sufficient and most of the people are making their own arrangements,” state-run Radio Pakistan quoted Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique as saying during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif through video link from New York.
He requested the premier to launch a campaign involving celebrities of the country as the momentum of the national movement is not sufficient to deal with the scope of calamity.
Sharif ordered immediate steps for the provision of baby food and other essential items as waterborne diseases spread in the affected regions
“In my interactions with the world leaders on the sidelines of #UNGA Session, I apprised them of the flood disaster & highlighted the need for a collective action to deal with climate change," Sharif tweeted.
The prime minister is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly session.
According to UNICEF, around 16 million children have been impacted by the flood and at least 3.4 million children need immediate lifesaving support.
The destructive floods affected millions of people in 81 districts across the country and thousands of them are living in tents.
Monsoon season in Pakistan, like in other countries in the region, usually results in heavy rains, but this year has been the wettest since 1961.
Currently, one-third of the country is under water as the massive rains and melting glaciers have caused the country’s main Indus River to overflow, inundating vast swaths of plains, and farms.
Destructive rains and floods have also washed away 12,716 kilometers (7,901 miles) of roads, 374 bridges and buildings across the South Asian nuclear country, which is already grappling with political and economic turmoil.
Over 33 million of the country's approximately 220 million population have been affected by the raging floods, causing a staggering loss of over $30 billion in damages to an already weakened infrastructure.
Almost 45% of the country's cropland has already been inundated by the floods, posing a serious threat to food security and further adding to the already skyrocketing inflation.
So far, Pakistan has received 116 flights of humanitarian aid from Türkiye, the UAE, China, Russia, the US, the UK, Uzbekistan, France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Nepal, Turkmenistan, UNICEF, UNHCR, and the World Food Program.