Nearly 1,300 people have been killed so far due to unprecedented floods triggered by record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountains, as authorities step up efforts to contain the spread of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and malaria in the affected areas.
The cataclysmic floods inundated a third of the country, displaced more than 33 million people and caused economic damage to the tune of $12.5 billion to Pakistan’s already ailing economy.
At least 26 people have been killed in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,290 as of Sunday, while 12,588 others have been injured, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The NDMA said 492 people died in Sindh, followed by 286 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, 259 in Balochistan, 188 in Punjab, 42 in Kashmir, 22 in Gilgit-Baltistan and one in Islamabad.
The floods also destroyed about 5,563 km of roads and 243 bridges, while 1,468,019 houses were partially or totally damaged and 736,459 head of cattle killed, he added.
Sindh province is still badly affected as authorities cut the embankment of swollen Manchar Lake to prevent the towns of Sehwan and Bhan Saeedabad from being flooded, according to Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon.
“It was a tough decision [but] you had to take it,” he said.
The minister said around 125,000 people in five union councils would be affected by the water released by the cut.
Memon also said more than 672,000 people were in relief camps where the government was providing food and medicine to those affected.
Meanwhile, Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho told DawnNews TV that at least 47,000 pregnant women were in reception camps in the province, adding that thousands had contracted various water-borne diseases due to flooding.
“Over 134,000 cases of diarrhea and 44,000 cases of malaria have been reported in the province,” she added.
Dr Pechuho said more than 100,000 skin bites, 101 snake bites and 500 dog bites have been reported among those affected by the floods so far.
She said other cases, including respiratory illnesses, were on the rise in Sindh province
On August 30, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), a sexual and reproductive health agency, said that at least 650,000 pregnant women, 73,000 of whom were due to give birth this month across the country, in flood-affected areas were in dire straits. need for a maternal health service.
On August 25, the government officially declared a “national emergency” in light of rain-triggered floods that killed more than 1,200 people.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Kacchi regions of Balochistan province on a one-day trip, where he was briefed on the situation.
Sharif announced a relief grant of PKR 5 million for workers assisting in the evacuation process, and another grant of PKR 1 million for personnel working on the restoration of gas pipelines.
The Prime Minister, in a tweet on Sunday, called on the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and other global agencies to support Pakistan as climate-induced calamities had harmed the country’s children.
“As Pakistan battles one of the worst climate-induced calamities, children are among the hardest hit. With more than 400 dead, they represent a third of the total death toll. Today, they are even more exposed to waterborne diseases. UNICEF and other global agencies should help,” Sharif tweeted.
International aid was pouring in and the third flight from Qatar landed at Karachi airport, carrying relief materials and medical items, while the United States Agency for International Development said it was deploying a disaster response team to conduct a humanitarian response.
“This elite team is assessing damage, identifying priority needs and coordinating with humanitarian partners in country,” USAID tweeted.
Pakistani farmers are still counting their losses from the devastating floods that submerged a third of the country and wiped out acres of fertile farmland.
Farmers regret that the natural calamity set the country back 50 years.
UN chief Antonio Guterres will arrive in Pakistan on September 9 for a solidarity visit and inspect flood-hit areas, after a $160 million emergency plan was launched by the UN and the Pakistani government to help millions of people living in relief camps. .
As the country tried to battle the calamity, the Met Office predicted more rain in the coming days.