Since mid-June, 937 people have died from heavy rains and flooding across the South Asian country, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman called the floods “unprecedented” and “the worst humanitarian disaster of this decade”.
“Pakistan is going through its eighth monsoon cycle when normally the country only has three to four rainy cycles,” Rehman said. “The percentages of super flood torrents are shocking.”
She particularly highlighted the impact on the south of the country, adding that “maximum” relief efforts are underway.
The NDMA, Pakistan Army and Provincial Disaster Management Authority are working to help those affected, but there is an ‘urgent’ need for shelter and relief due to the growing number of homeless families and displaced, she said.
The southern province of Sindh, which was hit hard by the floods, has requested 1 million tents, while neighboring Balochistan province has requested 100,000 tents, she added.
“Pakistan’s priority, at the moment, is this climate-induced humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions,” Rehman said, urging the international community to provide assistance given Pakistan’s “limited” resources.
Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal separately told Reuters that 30 million people had been affected, a figure believed to be around 15% of the South Asian country’s population.
The United Nations agency, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in an update on Thursday that the monsoon rains had affected some 3 million people in Pakistan, 184,000 of whom were displaced to relief camps across the country.
Funding and reconstruction efforts will be a challenge for cash-strapped Pakistan, which must cut spending to ensure the International Monetary Fund approves the release of much-needed bailout funds.
The NDMA said in a report that in the past 24 hours, 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) of roads were damaged across the country and more than 82,000 homes partially or fully damaged.
Since mid-June when the monsoon began, more than 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of road, 130 bridges and 495,000 houses have been damaged, according to the latest NDMA situation report, figures also included in the OHCA report.
“The rain hasn’t stopped”
A large majority of this damage is in Sindh.
“Brother, the rain hasn’t stopped for the past three months… We live in a rickshaw with our children because the roof of our mud house is leaking,” a woman told AFP on condition of anonymity. Reuters TV in Hyderabad, Sindh. second largest city.
Sitting with three of her children in the rickshaw, she said, “Where can we go? The gutters are overflowing and our yard is full of sewage. Our houses and alleys have turned into a floating trash can.”
OCHA also warned that alerts had been issued for floods, river overflows and landslides in several parts of Pakistan, and heavy rains were also forecast for the next two days over most of the country.
Rehman said Sindh received 784% more rainfall this month than the August average, while Balochistan province received nearly 500% more.
Twenty-three districts in Sindh have been declared disaster-stricken, she said.