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Toll beyond 1,260 as dozens more die from ‘catastrophic’ Pakistan floods

Date:

Toll beyond 1,260 as dozens more die from ‘catastrophic’ Pakistan floods

Toll rises with 57 more deaths, 25 among them children, and officials say floods inundating a third of the South Asian country were preceded by four heatwaves and multiple raging forest fires provoked by climate crisis.

Toll beyond 1,260 as dozens more die from ‘catastrophic’ Pakistan floods
Pakistan army helps flood-affected people at a makeshift camp after heavy monsoon rains at Sohbatpur in Jaffarabad district of Balochistan province.
(AFP)

The toll from
cataclysmic floods in Pakistan continues to climb with 57 more deaths, 25 of them children, as the country
grapples with a relief and rescue operation of near
unprecedented scale.

A high-level body set up to coordinate the relief effort met
in Islamabad on Saturday for the first time, chaired by Prime
Minister Shehbaz Sharif, to take stock of the disaster.

Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern
mountains brought floods that have affected 33 million people
and killed at least 1,265 people, including 441 children. 

The
inundation, blamed on climate crisis, is still spreading.

The proportion of children’s deaths has raised concern. 

On
Friday, the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) said there
was a risk of “many more” child deaths from disease after
floods.

The floods that have inundated a third of the country were
preceded by four heatwaves and multiple raging forest fires, the
disaster management chief told the high-level meeting,
highlighting the effects of climate crisis in the South Asian
nation.

“The year 2022 brought some harsh realities of climate
change for Pakistan,” the chief of the National Disaster
Management Authority Lieutenant-General Akhtar Nawaz told a
briefing for the country’s top leadership.

“This year we did not witness a spring season –– we faced
four heatwaves which caused large-scale forest fires across the
country,” he said.

READ MORE:
Why Pakistan suffers from climate change despite minimal carbon footprint?

Hard-hit southern regions

The fires were particularly severe in the southwestern
province of Balochistan, destroying swaths of pine-nut forests
and other vegetation, not far from areas now underwater.

Balochistan has received 436 percent more rain than the 30-year
average this monsoon.

The province has seen widespread devastation, including a
washing away of key rail and road networks as well as breakdowns
in telecommunications and power infrastructure, the meeting was
told.

The country has received nearly 190 percent more rain than the
30-year average in the quarter through August, totalling 15.38 inches. 

Sindh province, with a population of
50 million, was hardest hit, getting 464 percent more rain than the
30-year average.

Aid has flowed in from a number of countries, with the first
humanitarian assistance flight from France landing on Saturday
morning in Islamabad. 

But Pakistan’s largest charity group has
said there were still millions who had not been reached by aid
and relief efforts.

Initial estimates of the damage have been put at $10
billion, but surveys are still being conducted along with
international organisations.

The United Nations has appealed for $160 million in aid to
help tackle what it said was an “unprecedented climate
catastrophe” as Pakistan’s navy has fanned out inland to carry
out relief operations in areas that resemble a sea.

READ MORE:
Aid pours into Pakistan as death toll from floods crosses grim 1,200 mark
Source: Reuters


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