Aaj English TV

Sunday, March 03, 2024  
22 Shaban 1445  

Death toll from rains crosses 900, 30 million affected: Sherry Rehman

Climate change minister urges international community to help
Photo: Screengrab.
Photo: Screengrab.

Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said on Thursday that 30 million people across Pakistan have been affected by the recent rain spells, declaring the current situation worse than 2010 when at least 1,700 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents.

The death toll currently stands at 913, the minister said in a press conference at the Press Information Department, Islamabad.

According to the NDMA, over 72,340 houses have been destroyed and 3,037km of roads damaged since June 14. Over 700,000 cattleheads have been killed.

Sherry Rehman said relief bodies including the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), those working at the provincial level as well as rescue teams from the armed forces were providing assistance to flood affectees.

Sindh and Balochistan 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 has impeded movement around flood-affected areas.

The rail service to Quetta has been suspended to the rest of the country, the RCD highway is closed and main arteries across Sindh and Balochistan are broken, making it difficult for aid to reach.

  • More than 800mm has fallen in Sindh in 5 days
  • Over 1,000 people have been injured
  • 90% of crops destroyed
  • 1 million tents are needed
  • At least 300 people have died
  • Over 1.5 million slum houses have been destroyed

Rehman said 30 districts of Sindh have been submerged due to flooding. Emergency has been declared in 23 districts.

In Punjab, the southern parts of the province have been badly affected, particularly smaller cities like Rajanpur and Dera Ismail Khan, where people are running out of food supplies while living under the open sky.

  • Punjab has announced Rs1 million for its flood-hit people
  • Punjab will give Rs300,000 to severly injured people, Rs100,000 to slightly injured
  • Rs400,000 compensation for concrete houses destroyed
  • Rs200,000 for partally damaged houses in Punjab

Pakistan has urged the international community to help with relief efforts, Reuters reported. More than 800 deaths have been reported and the damage to infrastructure is beyond the scope of the government.

The monsoon 2022 has come at a time when Pakistan is already strapped for cash and was forced to go to the IMF for a loan.

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.

“No question of the provinces or Islamabad being able to cope with this magnitude of climate catastrophe on their own. Lives are at risk, thousands homeless. Int’l partners need to mobilise assistance,” Rehman had said in a tweet.

According to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 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.

“It is a climate catastrophe of epic scale, bringing in its wake the humanitarian crisis that could well match the magnitude of the big flood that was witnessed in 2010,” said Rehman.

No help in sight

The authorities in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan have been unable to provide prompt relief to the flood affectees awaiting assistance in the midst of the worst floods in decades.

Expressing their views during Munizae Jahangir’s show Spot Light, the chiefs of the PDMAs of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan admitted the authorities’ failure to reach out to the disaster-stricken people in time.

Talking to Jahangir, Director PDMA Balochistan Ataullah Mengal said steps were afoot to help those in need.

According to Sindh PDMA Director-General Salman Shah, the situation is highly overwhelming and that they are facing a severe shortage of tents.

Sharing his views on the occasion, Aaj News correspondent shed light on the dire shortage of tents and food for the affectees.

Punjab PDMA DG Khalid Masood denied mismanagement in providing relief, saying maximum resources are being utilised for the purpose.

The response came as the Aaj News correspondent from Punjab highlighted how the ill-timed shuffle in official positions has affected the relief efforts.

He highlighted that those under open skies are desperately awaiting tents and food but to no avail so far.

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