Massive relief operation underway as Pakistan flood death toll rises to 1,061


A massive relief operation was underway on Monday and international aid began to flow as Pakistan struggled to cope with monsoon floods that affected more than 33 million people.

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Authorities said 1,061 people have died since June when the seasonal rains began, but the final toll could be higher as hundreds of villages in the mountainous north have been cut off by flood-swollen rivers that have washed away people. roads and bridges.

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

Officials said floods this year have affected more than 33 million people – one in seven Pakistanis – destroying or severely damaging nearly a million homes.

Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman called it “the monsoon monsoon of the decade”.

This year’s floods are comparable to those of 2010 – the worst on record – when more than 2,000 people died and almost a fifth of the country was under water.

Near Sukkur, a town in southern Sindh province and home to an aging colonial-era dam on the Indus River that is vital to preventing further disasters, a farmer has lamented the devastation to his paddy fields.

Millions of acres of rich farmland have been inundated by weeks of uninterrupted rain, but now the Indus threatens to burst its banks from torrents of water flowing downstream from northern tributaries.

“Our harvest spanned over 5,000 acres on which the best quality rice was sown and is eaten by you and us,” Khalil Ahmed, 70, told AFP.

“It’s all over.”

Much of Sindh is now a landscape of endless water, hampering a massive relief operation led by the army.

“There are no airstrips or approaches available … our pilots are having trouble landing,” a senior officer told AFP.

Army helicopters were also struggling to get people to safety in the north, where steep hills and valleys make flying conditions dangerous.

Many rivers in the region – a scenic tourist destination – overflowed, demolishing dozens of buildings, including a 150-room hotel that collapsed in a raging torrent.

The government has declared a state of emergency and appealed for international aid

On Sunday, the first relief flights started arriving – from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The floods couldn’t have come at a worse time for Pakistan, where the economy is in freefall.

Read more:

UAE President orders humanitarian aid to flood-hit Pakistan

Pakistan’s foreign minister says aid needed after ‘crushing’ floods

Video: Floods in Pakistan force tens of thousands from their homes overnight


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