More than 800 people have died in Pakistan since June due to heavy monsoon rains, a “disaster on a rare scale”, according to the climate change minister, who is appealing for international help.
The monsoon rains, which usually last from June to September, are essential for irrigating the gardens and replenishing the water resources of the Indian subcontinent. But it brings its share of drama and destruction every year.
Heavy rains have hit much of the country again in the past 24 hours, killing at least a dozen people, including nine children, officials said.
“It has been raining for a month. We have nothing,” Khanzadi, who lives in Jafarabad in Balochistan province, one of the hardest hit, told AFP.
“We had only one goat and that too died in the floods. Now we have nothing…we are hungry,” he added.
Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said on Wednesday that the government will appeal for international assistance once the damage assessment is complete.
“In terms of scale of disaster, there is no doubt that the provinces or even Islamabad will face the scale of this climate disaster,” he told AFP.
“Lives are at risk, thousands of people are homeless (…) It is important that international partners mobilize their help”, he added.
Most vulnerable country
Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to climate change. According to a study by the NGO Germanwatch, it is the 8th most threatened country by extreme weather events.
Earlier this year, much of the country was in the grip of a heat wave, with Jacobabad in Sindh province recording temperatures of up to 51 degrees Celsius.
The city is now reeling from floods that have damaged homes, washed away roads and bridges and destroyed crops.
In Sukkur, about 75 kilometers from Jacobabad, volunteers used boats to distribute food and fresh water to people trapped in their homes on flooded city streets.
This year’s rains were the worst since 2010, when more than 2,000 people died and more than two million were displaced, Pakistan Meteorological Service (PMD) chief forecaster Zakir Ahmed Babar told AFP.
Balochistan province received 430 percent more rain than normal and Sindh 500 percent more.
Patitan city in Sindh has been receiving over one meter of rain since August 1.
“This is a climate disaster of a rare magnitude,” Ms Rehman said, adding that three million people were affected.
About 125,000 houses have been destroyed and another 288,000 houses damaged, the National Disaster Management Authority said in a statement.
In Sindh and Balochistan, officials say around 700,000 cattle have been killed and 80,000 hectares of farmland destroyed.
About 3000 kilometers of roads have also been damaged.
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats / afp
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