Pakistan floods have left broken lives, half a million in camps

Islamabad (AFP) – Nearly half a million people have crowded into camps after losing their homes in widespread flooding, with Pakistan’s climate minister warning Monday that Pakistan is on the “front line” of the world’s climate crisis after unprecedented monsoon rains hit the country. country from the middle. June, killing more than 1,130 people.

The rain stopped more than two days ago, and the floods have subsided in some areas. But Pakistanis in many parts of the country still waded through water that filled their homes or covered their town streets as they struggled to deal with damage to homes and businesses.

In one of the worst single incidents of flooding, at least 11 people were killed on Monday when a boat used by volunteer rescuers to evacuate twenty people capsized in the flooded waters of the Indus River near the southern city of Bilawal Pur. The media reported. An unknown number remains missing from the coup.

Climate Minister Sherry Rehman and meteorologists told the Associated Press that new monsoon rains are expected in September. Officials say the monsoons have hit earlier and harder than usual since the start of summer — most recently with heavy rains last week affecting nearly the entire country.

Rahman said Pakistan is used to monsoons and floods, but not like that.

“What we’ve seen recently in the last eight weeks is a continuous waterfall of torrential rain that hasn’t been accompanied by any monsoons before,” she said.

The torrential rains are the latest in a string of disasters that Rahman said have been exacerbated by climate change, including heat waves, wildfires and the eruption of glacial lakes. The damage reflects how poorer countries often pay for climate change caused largely by industrialized nations. Since 1959, Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4% of the world’s historical carbon dioxide emissions. The United States is responsible for 21.5%, China 16.5%, and the European Union 15%.

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“Climate knows no bounds and its effects can be felt disproportionately,” Rahman said. “When you see low pressure systems coming from the Bay of Bengal, they hit us before anyone. So we are on the front line of a global crisis.”

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The National Disaster Management Authority said this summer’s floods have killed more than 1,136 people, injured 1,636 and injured one million homes. She added that at least 498,000 people in the country of 220 million people live in relief camps after their displacement. It is believed that many of the displaced are living with relatives, friends or abroad.

International aid began to flow into Pakistan, and the army was helping distribute aid to remote areas and evacuate those who had lost their homes. The authorities began lengthy efforts to rebuild roads and restart railways. The floods destroyed more than 150 bridges and washed away many roads, making rescue operations difficult.

In the southeastern town of Shekarpur near the Indus River, Rehan Ali dug bricks out of the collapsed walls of his home, which was almost completely destroyed by severe storms and swept water. His family’s possessions were scattered outside.

The 24-year-old said he could not rebuild without government help and could not work now because of the unrest. “I don’t even have anything to feed my family. I lost everything. I don’t know where to go. God told me.

Arifullah, an official with the Pakistan Meteorological Department, told the Associated Press that more rains will continue to hit parts of Pakistan next month.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Monday that the rains so far have been the heaviest in three decades.

“I saw flood waters everywhere, wherever I went in recent days and even today,” said Sharif in the northeastern town of Charsadda. About 180,000 people were evacuated in the city after the Swat River overflowed and inundated nearby communities.

Sharif said the government will provide housing for all those who have lost their homes.

But many of the displaced not only lost their homes, but also crops and businesses.

I am sitting with my family in a tent, how do I go out to work? Rahmatullah, a flood victim in Charsadda, asked that even if I went out looking for a job, who would give me any job where there is water everywhere.

Zarina Bibi said the soldiers evacuated her by boat. She broke down in tears as she recounted how her home collapsed in the floods.

“The soldiers and volunteers gave us a tent and food,” she said. “The flood waters will recede soon, but we don’t have the money to rebuild our house.”

At least 6,500 soldiers have been deployed to help, and authorities have said they are using military planes, helicopters, trucks and boats to evacuate trapped people and deliver aid to them.

However, many displaced people complained that they were still waiting for help. Some said they got tents but no food.

Pakistani authorities say the devastation this year is worse than in 2010, when floods killed 1,700 people. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of Pakistan’s army, said Sunday that his country could take years to recover. He appealed to Pakistanis living abroad to donate generously to the flood victims.

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Cargo planes from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates began the flow of international aid, landing in Islamabad on Sunday laden with tents, food and other daily necessities. The United Nations will launch an international appeal for Pakistani flood victims on Tuesday in Islamabad.

Debris floods hit Pakistan at a time when the country is facing one of its worst economic crises, narrowly avoiding default. Later on Monday, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund approved the release of the long-awaited $1.17 billion to Pakistan, Pakistani Information Minister Maryam Orangiz told the Associated Press. The announcement was a huge relief to the country.

Pakistan and the IMF originally signed the bailout agreement in 2019. But the release of the $1.17 billion tranche has been on hold since earlier this year, when the IMF expressed concern about Pakistan’s compliance with the terms of the deal under the government of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The United Nations said in a statement last week that it has allocated $3 million to UN relief agencies and their partners in Pakistan to respond to the floods and will use these funds for health, nutrition, food security and water and sanitation services in flood-affected areas, with a focus on the most vulnerable.

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Associated Press writers Muhammad Farooq in Shekharpur and Riaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this story.

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