PAKISTAN AGAIN HIT BY MASSIVE FLOODS

Pakistan again hit by massive floods
Some 288 people have already died in another shocking disaster

By Ahsan Sadaqat
Special to ASSIST News Service

TOBA TEK SINGH, PAKISTAN (ANS) — Several weeks after the start of this year’s devastating floods in Pakistan, large parts of the country are still under water, and some 288 people have died.

People escaping the floods
Pakistan has suffered deadly monsoon floods for the last four years.

According to the BBC, the recent monsoon floods in Punjab and Sindh provinces, have also resulted in hundreds of temporary camps have been set up to offer shelter to those who have lost their homes.

“The floods have affected nearly one million people and washed away roads and bridges. Tens of thousands have been forced to leave their homes and are scrambling to save their families and belongings along the river banks in Punjab and Sindh provinces,” said the BBC.

I recently visited the flood-affected areas to access the damage to people and crops, and compared it with last year’s floods, where 178 people were killed, and around 1.5 million being affected by flooding around the country.

This year’s floods have again badly affected people, and besides those who have died, standing crops on thousands of acres of land have been swept away, with people and their livestock living under the sky.

A family wading through the floods
Relief work is very slow while people especially children and women are starving. Water borne diseases have been broke out in the rain affected areas.

The National Disaster Management Authority warned there was a high risk of flooding in three towns along the Chenab River in Punjab and asked people to leave low-lying and vulnerable areas.

Troops have been mobilized for flood relief duties in eastern Punjab. The death toll was likely to rise as reports were coming in of flood waters sweeping through villages in rural areas.

I discovered that over three thousand villages have been inundated in the floods, and the rain drains are running in overflow and due to hundreds of breaches in different areas caused flood-like situation.

A village inundated with flood water
Erosion in the rivers is another cause of displacement of the large number of people. Due to this erosion, people are not only losing their houses, but also the farmlands which have been removed from the face of the earth.

This shocking state of affairs means that many have lost not only family members, but have nowhere to go. Unfortunately, the Pakistan government is not in a position to immediately stop all these things happening.

Breaches are not unplugged and erosion is not stopped, therefore, more and more areas are covered with water, and with this situation, many women and children are in dire need of help.

We are doing what we can to especially help many Christian’s families affected by flood and trying to supply them with food and other vital items. We hope you can help these people in their bad time of need.

According to Geo News, the floods and landslides from days of heavy monsoon rains have now claimed more than 450 lives in both Pakistan and India, with hospitals struggling to cope with the disaster.

Villagers waiting for help
“Between 300,000 and 400,000 people remain stranded in Indian-administered Kashmir, where phone lines have been down for days and food and water supplies are running low, although the floods have begun to recede,” said their story.

“The floodwaters are moving downstream through Pakistan´s Punjab province, inundating huge swathes of farmland in the country´s breadbasket and most prosperous area.

“The army on Thursday planted explosives in preparation for breaching three strategic dykes to divert waters away from the southern Punjab cities of Muzaffargarh and Multan, a major agricultural canter of two million people and the main hub for Pakistan´s important cotton industry.”

A senior Multan government official told AFP the dykes were likely to be blown in the evening, but the blast may be put off if the waters abate.

Similar drastic measures were taken on Wednesday to protect the city of Jhang, further upstream, where 10,000 people were evacuated overnight, according to senior rescue official Rizwan Naseer.

Hafiz Shaukat Ali, a senior administration official in Multan, said all schools in the area would be closed for the next two days.

“The military, which often plays an important role in disaster relief efforts, said troops had rescued 22,000 people stranded by floodwaters around Punjab and Pakistan-administered Kashmir,” said Geo News.

“The country´s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said 257 people had been killed and more than 1.1 million affected — a figure that includes both those stranded at home and those who fled after the floods hit.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
visited flooded areas
“Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited flooded parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Thursday, announcing $10,000 compensation for families who lost loved ones in the floods and pledging to reopen blocked roads as soon as possible.”

Geo News added that Pakistan has suffered deadly floods around the same time every year since 2010, when the country was hit by the worst inundations in its history.

“The waters that year swamped 160,000 square kilometers (62,000 square miles) of land – an area bigger than England – and cost the country nearly $10 billion, the equivalent of 6.5 percent of GDP. Around 1,800 people were killed and 20 million affected,” it added.

“But an analysis this week by Topline Securities, a Karachi-based investment company, said this year´s floods do not appear to be on the same scale.”

The floods of 2012 killed nearly 600 people and affected 4.6 million, while those in 2013 killed around 300 and affected some 1.5 million.

If you would like to help the suffering people of Pakistan, please feel free to contact Rafia Ashfaq at ashfaq.fateh@gmail.com to get more details of how you can provide much-needed aid to those affected by this year’s flooding.

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