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Friday, September 30, 2022

Pakistan calls for more aid as flood death toll rises

20220925 121632
20220925 121632

Pakistan has appealed to the international community for a “massive humanitarian response” to the devastating floods that have killed at least 1,265 people.

Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal called for a “massive humanitarian response for the 33 million people” affected by the monsoons that triggered the floods.

The request came as planes transported supplies to the impoverished country via a humanitarian air bridge.

International attention to Pakistan’s plight has increased with the number of deaths and displacements rising. According to preliminary government estimates, rains and floods caused $10 billion in losses.

Children line up for help
Children line up for relief after heavy rains in Jafarabad, a district in the southwestern Balochistan province of Pakistan. [Arshad Butt/AP Photo]

“The scale of the devastation is enormous and requires a massive humanitarian response for 33 million people. That is why I appeal to my fellow Pakistanis, the Pakistani expatriates and the international community to help Pakistan in this hour of need.

Climate change has been blamed on climate change by many officials and experts, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who earlier this week called on the world to stop “sleepwalking” during the deadly crisis. He will visit Pakistan on September 9 to tour the flood-affected areas and meet with officials.

Earlier this week, the United Nations and Pakistan jointly issued an appeal for $160 million in emergency funding to help millions of people affected by floods that destroyed more than a million homes.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in its latest report on Saturday, counted another 57 deaths from flood-affected areas. This brings the total number of deaths since the monsoon began in mid-June to 1,265, including 441 children.

Former Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s plea for help received a quick response from the international community, which sent planes loaded with relief items.

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Aerial view of flood water
Houses surrounded by flood waters in Jafarabad [Arshad Butt/AP Photo]

A French plane carrying relief items landed in Islamabad on Saturday and was received by National Health Services Minister Abdul Qadir Patel.

The arrival of that French plane came after the ninth flight from the Emirates and the first from Uzbekistan. Those flights were the latest to land in Islamabad during the night.

Patel said the relief items sent by France include medicines and large dewatering pumps to lower water levels. He said France also sent a team of doctors and experts.

Pakistan has established a National Flood Response and Coordination Center to distribute aid to the affected population. Iqbal oversees the center led by the army.

The minister said that monsoon rains this season have hit most of Balochistan and Sindh provinces as well as parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. Gilgit-Baltistan was also affected. Heavy rains and subsequent flooding caused extensive damage to infrastructure, roads, electricity and communication networks.

Iqbal said the government is working to restore normalcy to the country as soon as possible, but the Pakistani government cannot do it alone.

Major General Zafar Iqbal, head of the flood response center, said at the press conference that during the past four days, 29 planes loaded with relief supplies arrived in Pakistan from Turkey, the UAE, China, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Turkmenistan and others. Countries.

A family searches for their belongings from their flooded house
A family searches for salvageable belongings from their flooded house after heavy rains in Shikarpur district of Sindh province. [Fareed Khan/AP Photo]

Army spokesman Major-General Iftikhar Babar said rescuers backed by the army are continuing their rescue and relief operations. He said the army, air force and navy planes are using boats and helicopters to evacuate people from remote areas and to deliver aid.

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Babar said that the army has set up 147 relief camps to house and feed more than 50,000 displaced people, while 250 medical camps have provided assistance to 83,000 people so far.

Health officials have expressed concern about the spread of water-borne diseases among the displaced people living in relief camps and in tents along the roads.

NDMA chief Lieutenant-General Akhtar Nawaz said the regions of the country which are expected to receive between 15 and 20 per cent of the extra rain this year have already received more than 400 per cent. Collectively, the country experienced a 190 percent increase in rainfall in the monsoon season.

The US Army’s Central Command said it would send an assessment team to Islamabad to see what support it could provide. The United States announced $30 million in aid for flood victims earlier this week.

Two congressmen, Sheila Jackson and Tom Suzy, are expected to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday to visit the flood-affected areas and meet with officials.

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