In Pakistan, more than 1,100 have died due to a monsoon that “has not happened in thirty years”

Tens of millions of Pakistanis continue to battle the country’s worst monsoon rains in three decades. According to the latest report, Monday August 29, from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the monsoon has killed at least 1,136 people since it began in June, including 75 in the last twenty-four hours.

Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman spoke about a “crisis of unimaginable proportions” during an interview on Monday with Agence France-Presse (AFP). The monsoon rains, which begin in June, are “Not since thirty years”lined up the Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, while traveling in the affected regions of the North, while, in the South, the main river of the country, the Indus, threatens to burst its banks.

A large relief operation was carried out in the country, where international aid slowly began to arrive. The United Nations (UN) and the government of Pakistan, which has declared a state of emergency, will officially launch an appeal this Tuesday for donations of 160 million dollars (like many euros) to fund emergency aid.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Pakistan has been ravaged by floods for three months

The bad weather is worse than in 2010

Aerial view of a flooded residential area in Balochistan province, August 29, 2022.

More than 33 million people, or one in seven Pakistanis, were affected by the floods, and nearly a million homes were destroyed or severely damaged, the government said.

Pakistani officials have blamed the disastrous weather on climate change, saying their country is suffering the consequences of irresponsible environmental behavior elsewhere in the world.

Authorities are still trying to reach isolated villages located in the northern mountainous areas, which could further increase the toll. “It’s all just one big sea, there’s no dry land from the water pump”said M.ME Rehman, adding that the cost to the economy is very high. Pakistan needs more than 10 billion dollars (as much as euros) to repair the damage caused by the floods and to rebuild the damaged infrastructure, said the Minister of Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, to AFP .

The monsoon, which usually lasts from June to September, is important for the irrigation of plantations and the replenishment of water resources in the Indian subcontinent. But it also brings its share of drama and destruction every year.

According to MME Rehman says the weather is worse than in 2010, when 2,000 people died and almost a fifth of Pakistan was inundated by monsoon rains.

People displaced by the floods have found shelter in hastily constructed makeshift camps across Pakistan. “Life is miserable here”told AFP Fazal e Malik, who was housed with about 2,500 other people in the grounds of a school in Nowshera, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Northwest). “I smell bad but I don’t have a bathroom. No fans”he added.

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An important dam

Pakistan received twice as much rain as normal, according to the meteorological service. In the southern provinces (Baluchistan and Sind), the most affected, the rainfall is more than four times higher than the average of the last thirty years.

Near Sukkur in Sindh, where a large colonial-era dam on the Indus River was crucial to preventing the disaster from worsening, a farmer mourned the loss of his paddy fields. “Our plantations span over 2,000 hectares, where the best quality rice is sown and eaten by you and us”Khalil Ahmed, 70, told AFP. It’s all over. »

The head of the dam assured that most of the water flowing from the north of the river country should reach the work around September 5, but said he is confident in its ability to withstand the shock. The dam diverts the waters of the Indus into thousands of kilometers of canals, forming one of the largest irrigation networks in the world. But the fields being served are now completely flooded.

Army troops distribute food and supplies to evacuees in a flood-hit area in Hyderabad, Pakistan, August 27, 2022.

Release an envelope of more than 1 billion dollars

The NDMA claimed that more than 80,000 hectares of farmland were destroyed and more than 3,400 kilometers of roads and 157 bridges were swept away. The water hampered the relief operations, which were under the control of the Pakistani army.

These floods come at the worst time for Pakistan, whose economy is already in crisis. The International Monetary Fund gave its agreement on Monday to continue a financial support program, which is important for the country, and announced the release of an envelope of 1.1 billion dollars.

But it is clear that Pakistan will need more to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by the floods. Staple food prices are rising and supply problems are already being felt in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab.

Also read: In Pakistan, monsoon rains of unusual intensity have killed more than nine hundred people since the beginning of summer.

The World with AFP

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