Islamabad: Almost 1,000 people, including 316 children, have lost their lives as half of Pakistan is reeling under devastating floods after the heavy monsoon.
The ravaging floods have left millions homeless and destroyed more than half a million homes across the country. At least 982 people have lost their lives and 1,456 people injured since June 14, according to the latest National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) report.
Scale of destruction
The floods have damaged around 2 million acres of crops and about 802,583 livestock have been lost. Pakistan’s government has declared a national emergency as devastating rains have set off flash floods that have killed hundreds, washed away roads, destroyed homes and crops, and left many without food, electricity and Internet. Around 3,161 kilometres of roads and 149 bridges have been destroyed in the floods.
The rains and floods have affected approximately 30 million people or 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population in 116 districts of the total 160, according to the government. The economic losses from the unprecedented rains and floods are estimated to be over $4 billion in the current fiscal year, according to experts.
Evacuations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
After Sindh and Balochistan provinces, the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province declared an emergency till August 30 in several flood-hit districts where swelling streams washed away houses and multi-storey buildings, leading to landslides and destruction. During August 26-27, the local authorities in KP’s Nowshera and Charsadda regions continued to help people evacuate from low-lying areas due to the threat of “very high floods” in the Kabul River. After late-night evacuations, several hundred people spent the night on Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M-1) under the open sky.
“The situation is worsening by the day. These torrential floods have severely restricted transportation and mobility. The threat of COVID-19 and damage to vehicles, infrastructure and connectivity are further making our emergency relief works almost impossible” said Abrar ul Haq, chairman of Pakistan Red Crescent (PRC), which is currently providing relief assistance in 23 most affected districts. The organisation fears that “the worst is yet to come as these kinds of waters could mean the risk of water-borne diseases are looming over the heads of our people.”
The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent are assisting PRC in its response to the worst floods in a decade. Peter Ophoff, IFRC Head of Delegation in Pakistan, said “Gaining a full picture of the scale of the disaster is difficult as many affected areas remain inaccessible due to inundated and damaged road networks. The devastation seen is giving frightening flashbacks of the devastating megafloods in 2010 which affected 20 million people.”
Govt, army and global relief organisations join hands
Pakistan’s local, government as well as global organisations have rushed in to offer relief for those in need. The devastating floods prompted the military, navy, and air force to mobilise their personnel and assets to assist in civilian relief operations in the province, evacuating thousands of stranded people and delivering food and relief items to flood victims.
Pakistani relief organisations including Al-Khidmat, Edhi Foundation, Saylani Welfare, Akhuwat, HANDS Pakistan, Jafria Disaster Cell (JDC) and Balochistan Youth Action Committee are working on the ground to provide relief such as shelters, rations, medical camps and cooked and ready-to-eat food in all affected areas. International organisations such as UAE Red Crescent, KS Relief, Qatar Red Crescent Society, WHO, UNHCR, IRC, Muslim Aid and International Rescue Committee (IRC) are also assisting the local authorities and Pakistani armed forces.
Pakistan’s government is leading the humanitarian response for people in the affected areas and has pledged Rs25,000 (US$112) in immediate cash relief. The government is also providing Rs1 million (US$4,515) compensation to the families of those killed in the floods, Rs250,000 (US$1,128) for injuries and for partially damaged houses and Rs500,000 (US$2,258) for destroyed houses.
Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has announced to provide 1.8 million euros assistance for families affected by flash floods across Pakistan.
Pakistan floods in numbers
• 30 million affected by floods in 116 districts of Pakistan
• 982 lost their lives, including 316 children and 1450 injured since June 14
• 682,000 houses destroyed
• 802,000 livestock lost
• 3,161 km of roads and 149 bridges damaged
• 498,800 people in relief camps