Flash floods caused by abnormally heavy rains have killed at least 549 people and destroyed thousands of homes (46,200 as of now) across Pakistan since the monsoon downpours began in mid-June.
The worst affected is the southwestern province of Balochistan, where the death toll has reached 150, with 15 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, according to disaster management authority officials.
“Our losses are massive,” the province’s Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bezenjo said. There were food shortages in every district hit by the flooding, with some also disconnected from the rest of the province due to more than 700 kilometres of roads being washed away.
The heavy downpour continued to batter several districts of Balochistan, destroying houses, roads and bridges, destroying crops and sweeping away livestock. The recent deaths were reported in Zhob, Qilla Saifullah, Kohlu, Naushki and Lasbela areas of Balochistan that endured flash floods.
On Tuesday, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) dispatched 1,000 ration bags from the Saudi relief agency King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KS Relief) for flood-hit people in Jafarabad, Naseerabad, Sahbatpur, Sibi and Kutch regions of Balochistan.
The devastating floods prompted the country’s military, navy, and air force to mobilise their personnel and assets to assist in civilian relief operations, evacuating thousands of stranded people and delivering food and relief items to families. On August 1, one Pakistani army helicopter crashed in the Lasbela region of Balochistan during the flood relief mission, killing six on board.
More rains predicted from August 5
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Tuesday predicted more rains in Sindh, including Karachi, from August 5 to 9. PMD advised all relevant authorities to take necessary precautions in an emergency.
Climate Minister Sherry Rehman warned that more downpours were predicted in Karachi, where torrential rains caused widespread flooding and damage in July, killing at least 39 people. “Met Office also cautioned that heavy falls may generate water-logging in low-lying areas of Karachi, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Tando Muhammad khan, Tando Allayar, Dadu, Jamshoro Kambar Shahdadkot“, she said.
Wettest in 3 decades
The past month was the wettest in three decades, with 133% more rain than the average for the past 30 years, the NDMA said. Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, received 305% more rain than the annual average, the disaster agency said.
Pakistan has received 60% of total normal monsoon rainfall in just three weeks since the start of the monsoon season and it projected to increase with intense rainfall in coming days.
The monsoon season will continue to affect Pakistan, causing floods, landslides, and severe weather-related incidents, resulting in an increasing scale of humanitarian impact. Allahu Akbar! [Gulf News, Reuters, Relief Web]
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