Pakistan floods kill 580 and bring misery to millions
Government accused of inaction as downpours leave schools destroyed, homes ruined, crops failing and cholera on the rise
More than 580 people have died and thousands have lost their homes across Pakistan as torrential rains batter the country.
An estimated 1 million have been affected by heavy rainfall, flash floods and landslides since July as Pakistan endured more than 60% of its normal total monsoon rainfall in three weeks.
Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces have been the worst affected, with heavy rainfall predicted across Pakistan until Friday. At least one man was killed in Karachi on Tuesday as non-stop rains hit Pakistan’s largest city for two consecutive days.
More than 40 people have died in Karachi due to heavy rains since July.
Approximately 200 people have died in Balochistan – Pakistan’s biggest and poorest province – which is suffering its worst floods in more than 30 years. The National Disaster Management Authority said the province had received 305% more rain than the annual average.
Eighteen of Balochistan’s 26 districts have been declared “calamity-hit” by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority. People have been forced to abandon their homes as crops and livestock were washed away across the province. Hundreds of miles of road have been damaged, making areas inaccessible to emergency services.
More than 570 schools have been destroyed, and cholera cases have been reported.
Mohammed Safar’s farm in Lasbela, Balochistan, was washed away when the rains came at on 12 July. It was 9am, and he and his family had to run for higher ground. “If it had flooded at any other time, we might have been washed away like plates in my kitchen. I have lost my home, crops and everything in this flood.”
Safar, 55, said the government gave him a tent, but nothing else. “We are getting food and other help from volunteers or NGOs. The government has left us all alone. The heavy rain has started since the weekend, and I fear this will take us away,” he said.
Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif has visited the region twice this month. He said: “We are doing our best to provide for extensive relief and rehabilitation of flood victims.”
The chief minister of Balochistan, Qudoos Bezinjo, has appealed for more support from the federal government and from international donors.
Jam Kamal, former chief minister and MP from Lasbela, said he had seen little or no government resources on the ground. “There was no pre-arrangement to deal with the flood, despite Met Office warnings. The provincial government has failed badly. If there were no volunteers helping the victims, more people would have died of hunger.”
“No one has seen such rains in their lifetime,” he said.
Dr Pervaiz Amir, former member of the national taskforce on climate change, said the flooding was “overwhelming.”
Photo: Rescue workers help villagers escape floods in Lasbella, in Pakistan`s southwest Baluchistan province. Source: Hamdan Khan/AP.