Heavy rains and floods have killed at least 1,033 people, including 348 children, and injured a further 1,527 in Pakistan since mid-June, officials said Sunday.
The country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) added that 119 people had died and 71 injured in the past 24 hours alone.
At least 33 million people have been affected by the disaster, Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said on Thursday. She 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 deployment of the army has been authorized to help with relief and rescue operations in flood-affected areas, the country’s interior ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The ministry said the troops would help Pakistan’s four provincial governments, including the worst-hit southwestern province of Balochistan.
The exact number of troops as well as the place and date of their deployment will be determined between the provinces and the government, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, relief centers are being established in various parts of the country to help collect, transport and distribute relief goods to the victims, the Pakistan Armed Forces said.
Army troops are also helping people evacuate to safer places, providing shelter, meals and medical care to those affected by the floods, the armed forces said.
The southern province of Sindh, which has been hit hard by the floods, has requested 1 million tents, while neighboring Balochistan province – largely cut off from electricity, gas and internet – has requested 100,000 tents, Rehman said.
“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.
Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif briefed international diplomats on the crisis on Friday, saying his country – on the frontline of climate change despite a relatively low carbon footprint – must steer its rehabilitation towards greater resilience to climate change.
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 UN agency 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 have been 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.