Tuesday, August 30: Since the beginning of the monsoon in June, the rainfall-, cloudbursts- and embankment breaches-related death toll across Pakistan has crossed 1,100. Of those deaths, approximately 120 have occurred in just the past 24 hours.

Among the affected areas, Sindh remains the worst hit with over 74 deaths, followed by 31 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, six in Gilgit Baltistan, and four in Balochistan. As per the latest report by Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA), at least 32 children, 56 men and nine women have died in the ongoing floods.

The Indus river flowing through Pakistan remains at a high flood level risk, and the country is unlikely to get any respite from torrential rains any time soon.

The devastating floods alone have foisted a loss of at least $10 billion, adding to Pakistan’s existing economic crisis. As of today, the rains and floods have killed and injured thousands, displaced at least 498,000 into relief camps, and claimed the lives of at least 719,558 livestock.

Further, about 992,871 houses, 3,451 km of roads, 149 bridges and 170 shops have gotten destroyed in the rains. As per the country’s Finance Minister, Miftah Ismail, full details of the sector-wise economic losses are yet to be acquired.

Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani senator and the country’s climate minister, has described the current situation in the country as a “serious climate catastrophe”.

“We are at the moment at the ground zero of the front line of extreme weather events, in an unrelenting cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events and now the monster monsoon of the decade is wreaking non-stop havoc throughout the country,” said Rehman.

With nearly one-third of the country still under water and the situation worsening, the Pakistani government has pleaded for international help.

India, other countries extend a helping hand

On Monday, PM Narendra Modi expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the affected families.

“Saddened to see the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan. We extend our heartfelt condolences to families of the victims, the injured and all those affected by this natural calamity and hope for an early restoration of normalcy,” he tweeted.

Furthermore, Pakistan finance minister Miftah Ismail announced that their government is considering importing food items like onions and tomatoes from India, in spite of the trade ban evoked in 2019 after the special status given to Jammu & Kashmir in Article 370.

India has previously extended similar assistance to Pakistan, particularly after the earthquake in 2005 and during the floods in 2010.

Meanwhile, several countries, including the United States, United Arab Emirates and Turkey have also extended their support through monetary and relief contributions.

The first flight from the UAE carried over 3,000 tonnes of relief goods, and at least 15 more planeloads would land in the country in the coming days.

Similarly, the Turkish Red Crescent Society has contributed Rs 16,000, 300 kits, 600 jerry cans, and 1,500 mosquito nets to 300 families in Jafferabad. The Turkish government has also sent 100 tents and 1,000 blankets.

Likewise, Qatar Charity is providing shelter to the underprivileged communities of Balochistan in collaboration with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

The Canadian government has allocated USD 20,000 for the flood-relief operations as well, Canada’s International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said.

Despite the large-scale aid, more funds are required, officials in Pakistan have said.

Besides monetary contributions, Queen Elizabeth has also offered her condolences to Pakistan, asserting that the United Kindom stands in solidarity with the country. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed similar feelings about the state of the country.

(With inputs from the Times of India and IANS)

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