The devastating floods, which affected more than 33 million people and caused the deaths of more than 1,100 people, “the worst in the history of Pakistan”said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday, August 30. “The damage to our infrastructure is extensive and spread across Pakistan”he added during the press briefing.
Efforts have been stepped up to help Pakistanis affected by the incessant monsoon rains since June, which have submerged a third of the country. More than $10 billion is needed to repair the damage and rebuild infrastructure damaged by the flood, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Tuesday, saying:
“A lot of damage has been done to the infrastructure, especially, in the telecommunications, roads, agriculture and livelihood sectors. »
These rains “not since thirty years”, according to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, destroyed or destroyed more than one million houses and destroyed many agricultural lands that are important to the country’s economy. Authorities and aid agencies are struggling to expedite aid to more than 33 million people – or one in seven Pakistanis – affected by the floods. The task was difficult, because the flood washed away many roads and bridges, completely cutting off some regions.
“It’s all one big sea”
In the south and west, there are almost no dry areas left and evacuees have to crowd onto main roads or high railway tracks to escape the flooded plains. And in the northern mountainous areas, authorities are still trying to reach remote villages, which could increase the death toll. The victims wandered like ghosts, along the unusually dry areas in search of shelter, food and drinking water.
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. “Watching the land devastation is truly mind-boggling”said Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman on Monday.
“Literally, a third of Pakistan is under water right now”more than during the 2010 floods, when 2,000 people died and almost a fifth of the country was submerged in monsoon rains, he said. “It’s all just one big ocean, there’s no dry place to pump water. This has become a crisis of unimaginable proportions”he added.
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. The province of Sind is an endless horizon of water and the main river of the country, the Indus, fed by countless tributaries from the north, threatens to burst its banks.
More than a billion in aid from the IMF
These floods come at the worst time for Pakistan, which has already sought international aid to help its economy in crisis. The government has declared a state of emergency and called on the international community to support it. On Tuesday, he launched with the United Nations an urgent appeal for donations of 160 million dollars to finance an emergency plan for the next six months, mainly intended to provide basic services (health , food, drinking water and shelter) for 5.2 million people. affected people.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday gave its agreement to continue a long-term negotiation and important financial support program for the country, and announced the release of an envelope of 1.1 billion dollars. . Staple food prices are skyrocketing – tomatoes and onions are up 40% in a week – and supply problems are already being felt in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab.
Makeshift camps have sprung up everywhere – in schools, on highways, on military bases, etc. – to house the displaced. In Nowshera, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in the northwest of the country, a college has been turned into a shelter for about 2,500 people, who are struggling to find food and water.