The recent rains have added to the misery of millions of people affected by the worst floods in the country’s history.
A diversion channel to relieve congestion in Pakistan’s largest freshwater lake has burst and nearby villages have had to be evacuated as more heavy rains add to the chaos for millions of people affected by the worst of the floods in their history. A third of Pakistan – an area the size of the UK – is under water after months of record monsoon rains have killed 1,300 people and destroyed homes, businesses, roads and bridge.
The government has set a bill of at least $10 billion for a country already in deep economic crisis, while hundreds of thousands of people are left homeless as the rainy season ends and winter approaches. . “There is no place to shower or go to the toiletsaid Zebunnisa Bibi, who was sheltered by about 500 people who fled their flooded villages in a camp near Fazilpur, in Punjab province.
Such camps, complete with tents, have sprung up all over southern and western Pakistan, where there are almost no dry areas left to drain. In the southern province of Sindh, engineers must dig a diversion channel to drain water from Lake Manchar, which is about to overflow and threatens the towns of Sehwan and Bhan Saeedabad, whose combined population is close to half a million. souls. Thousands of people had to be evacuated from flooded homes around the new canal.
Bigger than ever
“The flow of water has been diverted, but the threat is still far awaySindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon told AFP on Monday. “We are doing our best to prevent many villages from being flooded.Lake Manchar, located a few kilometers west of the Indus, varies in size depending on the season and the extent of the weather. However, according to the local population, it was not as wide as it is today.
Most of the southern provinces of Sind and Balochistan are just an endless expanse of water, with people crowded together in some high and still dry places, on roads or railways in particular. Human and animal waste in the stagnant water attracts swarms of flies and mosquitoes, and outbreaks of dengue fever have been reported.
A woman about to give birth in a camp in Punjab province told AFP she was desperate to finally receive medical help. “I need a doctor or midwife. What if something happens to my child?“, worried Fahmidah Bibi, mother of five children and afraid to give birth in such an environment.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) announced over the weekend that at least 128,000 pregnant women in the flooded areas are in urgent need of assistance, of which 42,000 are expected to give birth in the next three months.
Pakistan receives monsoon rains that are essential for irrigating plantations and replenishing water resources, but are often damaging. However, it has not seen such heavy rainfall for at least three decades.
Islamabad has blamed the devastating floods on climate change, which has increased the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events across the planet. This year, Pakistan is already facing a heat wave that sometimes exceeds 50°C, devastating forest fires and devastating floods caused by the rapid melting of glaciers. It is responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is in the 8th position among the countries most at risk from extreme weather events, according to a study by the NGO Germanwatch.
A major relief operation led by the army continued for several days. But the government admitted that it was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster and asked for help from the international community. According to the latest figures from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), nearly 6,000 kilometers of roads have been washed away, 246 bridges have been destroyed and 1.6 million homes have been destroyed or severely damaged since the start of the season. rain in June.