Monday 5, June 2023

Pakistan declares emergency

Time News Desk: Heavy rain pounded much of Pakistan yesterday after the government declared an emergency to deal with monsoon flooding it said had affected more than 30 million people.

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

The National Disaster Management Authority yesterday said that more than 900 people had been killed this year including 34 in the last 24 hours as a result of the monsoon rains that began in June.Officials say 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.

"I have never seen such huge flooding because of rains in my life," octogenarian farmer Rahim Bakhsh Brohi told AFP near Sukkur, in southern Sindh province.

Like thousands of others in rural Pakistan, Brohi was seeking shelter beside the national highway, as the elevated roads are among the few dry places in the endless landscapes of water.

A statement from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's office said 33 million people had been "badly affected" by the flooding, while the country's disaster agency said nearly 220,000 homes were destroyed and half a million more badly damaged.

Two million acres of cultivated crops had been wiped out in Sindh alone, the provincial disaster agency said.

Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, who on Wednesday called the floods "a catastrophe of epic scale", said the government had declared an emergency, and appealed for international assistance.

Premier Sharif cancelled a planned trip to Britain to oversee the flood response, and ordered the army to throw every resource into relief operations.

A national fundraising appeal has been launched. The worst-hit areas are Balochistan and Sindh in the south and west, but almost all of Pakistan has suffered this year.


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