Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Section

বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Pakistan monsoon flooding death toll tops 1,000

The death toll from monsoon flooding in Pakistan since June has reached 1,033

Update : 28 Aug 2022, 03:11 PM

Pakistan's flooded southern Sindh province braced on Sunday for a fresh deluge from swollen rivers in the north as the death toll from this year's monsoon topped 1,000.

The mighty Indus River that courses through Pakistan's second-most populous region is fed by dozens of mountain tributaries to the north, but many have burst their banks following record rains and glacier melt.

Officials warned torrents of water are expected to reach Sindh in the next few days, adding misery to millions already affected by the floods.

The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent, but it also brings destruction.

Officials say this year's monsoon flooding has affected more than 33 million people -- one in seven Pakistanis -- destroying or badly damaging nearly a million homes.

On Sunday, the country's National Disaster Management Authority said the death toll from the monsoon rains had reached 1,033, with 119 killed in the previous 24 hours.

It said this year's floods are comparable to 2010 -- the worst on record -- when over 2,000 people died and nearly a fifth of the country was under water.

Thousands of people living near flood-swollen rivers in Pakistan's north were ordered to evacuate from danger zones, but army helicopters and rescuers are still plucking laggards to safety.

Many rivers in the area -- a picturesque tourist destination of rugged mountains and valleys -- have burst their banks, demolishing scores of buildings including a 150-room hotel that crumbled into a raging torrent.


People retrieve bamboos from a damaged house following rains and floods during the monsoon season in Dera Allah Yar, Balochistan on August 25, 2022 Reuters


Climate change to blame

Officials blame the devastation on human-driven climate change, saying Pakistan is unfairly bearing the consequences of irresponsible environmental practices elsewhere in the world.

Pakistan is eighth on NGO Germanwatch's Global Climate Risk Index, a list of countries deemed most vulnerable to extreme weather caused by climate change.

Exacerbating the situation, corruption, poor planning and the flouting of local regulations mean thousands of buildings have been erected in areas prone to seasonal flooding.

The government has declared an emergency and mobilized the military to deal with what Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman has called "a catastrophe of epic scale."

In parts of Sindh, the only dry land are the elevated roads and rail tracks, alongside which tens of thousands of poor rural folk have taken shelter with their livestock.

Near Sukkur, a row of tents stretched for two kilometres, with people still arriving by boats loaded with wooden charpoy beds and pots and pans -- the only possessions they could salvage.


Pakistan army soldiers arrive to evacuate people stranded at a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains in Rajanpur district of Punjab province on August 27, 2022 AFP


"Water started rising in the river from yesterday, inundating all the villages and forcing us to flee," labourer Wakeel Ahmed, 22, told AFP.

Barrage supervisor Soomro told AFP every sluice gate was open to deal with a river flow of more than 600,000 cubic metres per second.

The flooding could not come at a worse time for Pakistan, where the economy is in free fall and the former prime minister Imran Khan was ousted by a parliamentary vote of no confidence in April.

While the capital Islamabad and adjoining twin garrison city of Rawalpindi have escaped the worst of the flooding, its effects were still being felt.

Top Brokers

About

Popular Links

x