ISLAMABAD - AFP/INP - Floods and heavy monsoon rains have now killed 178 people and affected 1.5 million across Pakistan in the last three weeks, disaster management officials said Sunday in updated figures.
“At least 178 people have died and 1,503,492 others affected by recent monsoon rains and floods across Pakistan,” a senior National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) official told AFP. On Wednesday the figures stood at nearly one million people affected and 139 dead.
The official said that the rains had wounded 855 people, affected 5,615 villages and destroyed 20,312 houses all over the country. Nearly 350 relief camps have been set up to help people, mostly in the central province of Punjab, the southern province of Sindh and the southwestern province of Balochistan, he said.
Further heavy monsoon rains are expected in Pakistan next month, but the NDMA is fully prepared, the official said. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had asked the NDMA and all provincial governments to be prepared for more rains forecast for coming weeks, besides providing relief to those already affected.
Pakistan, which has suffered from monsoon floods for the last three years, has been criticised for not doing more to mitigate against the dangers posed by seasonal rains washing away homes and farmland. Streets in all major cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad suffer intermittent flooding due to downpours, damaging roads and homes. In 2010, the worst floods in the country’s history killed almost 1,800 people and affected 21 million.
Flooding rivers and breaches in flood dykes in recent days have inundated hundreds of villages in Punjab and Sindh adding to the miseries of the people already hit hard by recent torrential rains. More than 60 villages were submerged due to flood in river Sutlej. Hundreds of houses and crops cultivated on thousands of acres were also damaged in Okara. In Vehari district‚ 75 villages were affected due to flood in Sutlej River.
According to Flood Forecasting Division‚ River Chenab is in high flood at Panjnand while River Ravi is in high flood at Sadhhanai. River Sutlej is in low flood at Sulemanki and Islam Headworks. River Indus is in medium flood at Sukkur Barrage. Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has dispatched ration and tents to the district administration to cope with any situation. The flood-hit people were shifted to safer places in the suburbs of tehsil Burewala and Vehari.
In Sindh‚ 300 villages submerged due to flood water in Katcha areas of Khairpur district and standing crops on thousands of acres of land were also destroyed. In Uch Sharif‚ Bakhtiari band breached due to flood in the River Chenab. Standing crops on hundreds of acres of land and several villages were inundated.
In Dadu, another 25 villages of Katcha area were inundated by flood water. In Larkana‚ 170 houses have submerged under flood water. According to Irrigation department people were evacuated from the Katcha areas to safe places. 45 relief camps have been set up in the area to help the flood affected people. Deputy Commissioner Khairpur said that thousands of people of flood affected areas were shifted to safer places.
Presiding over a meeting regarding provision of relief items to the flood affectees in Lahore, Director General Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Muhammad Asif has said that supply of relief goods to the flood affectees of Punjab as well as Chitral (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) is continuing and PDMA is maintaining regular daily supply to meet their demands.
PDMA DG said that 24,552 tents, 111,100 food hampers, 512,750 kg rice, 525,000 kg atta, 218,700 bottles of mineral water, 8,000 mosquito nets and 25 dewatering pumps had been sent to the flood-hit areas, while 26 boats, 100 life jackets and 15,000 blankets had also been provided.
He further said that expeditious measures were being adopted for the rehabilitation of the calamity-hit areas with the consultation of provincial ministers, assembly members, secretaries, administration and notables of the respective areas.
He said that life had started normalising in the areas where water has receded while effective measures were being taken for the drainage of water from the low-lying areas.