ISLAMABAD   -   The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund Saturday issued an alert that at last 3.4 million children in Pakistan need ‘immediate, lifesaving support’ in the wake of severe floods.

According to the UNICEF, floods have impacted 16 million children in total in Pakistan. UNICEF’s official said the situation on the ground in Sindh was “beyond bleak” with many malnourished children battling diseases like diarrhea, malaria and dengue fever, as well as painful skin conditions

‘Super floods’ in Pakistan have left 3.4 million children in need of “immediate, lifesaving support,” according to UNICEF. The floods – caused by record monsoon rains and dubbed by one minister as “the worst humanitarian disaster in a decade” – have impacted 16 million children in total, UNICEF’s Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil said following his visit this week to the country’s southern Sindh Province. 

That estimate came as the country’s National Disaster Management Authority updated the death toll from the floods since mid-June to 1,545 people, 552 of them children. 

Meanwhile, officials in the country warn that toll is likely to rise as deaths are being under reported and diseases like dengue fever are on the rise. 

Azra Pechuho, health minister for the southern Sindh Province – one of the hardest hit areas where many schools and other facilities remain shut, said there was now a “state of emergency” caused by the vast amount of standing water, which provides the perfect breeding conditions for Aedes mosquitoes to spread the dengue virus. 

UNICEF’s Fadil said the situation on the ground in Sindh was “beyond bleak” with many malnourished children battling diseases like diarrhea, malaria and dengue fever, as well as painful skin conditions. 

“Girls and boys in Pakistan are paying the price for a climate disaster not of their making,” Fadil said. 

“Young children are living out in the open with their families with no drinking water, no food and no livelihood – exposed to a wide range of new flood related risks and hazards,” Fadil said. Mothers, many exhausted, anemic and malnourished, were also unable to breastfeed their babies. “Vital infrastructure … has been destroyed and damaged, including thousands of schools, water systems and health facilities,” he added.

The National Disaster Management Authority has released latest statistics regarding the loss of life and property in the flood-hit areas. 

According to the latest figures, 37 more people have died of floods across the country taking the total number of casualties to 1545. The number of injured persons has soared to 12, 850 injured whereas a total of 1,921,622 houses have been damaged.  

The NDMA further says that 935,795 cattle swept away in flood waters across the country.  

At least 37 more people died during the past 24 hours in flood-related incidents across the country, taking the death toll from the catastrophe to 1,545.

According to data released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), during the past 24 hours, 32 people perished in Sindh and five in Balochistan.

Moreover, at least 92 individuals were injured during the same time period, including 91 in Sindh and one in Gilgit-Baltistan, taking the total number of injured to 12,850.

River Indus continues to run in medium flood at Kotri

The Federal Flood Commission (FFC) has said that River Indus is flowing in “medium flood” with discharge of 327,000 Cusecs while all other main rivers, including Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej are running normal.

According to daily FFC report on Saturday, Tarbela Reservoir is being maintained at its Maximum Conservation Level of 1550 feet. Mangla Dam at present is 1193.05 feet against its MCL 1242 feet (46.83 % storage still left). 

The combined live storage of country’s three major reservoirs (Tarbela, Chashma and Mangla) is 9.996 MAF which is 74.26% of total value of 13.461 MAF. 

Yesterday’s trough of Westerly Wave over Northern parts of Afghanistan lies over Northern parts of Pakistan with weak seasonal low lies over Northeastern Balochistan. Weak moist currents from Arabian Sea are penetrating into upper parts of Pakistan up to 5,000 feet.

The Flood Forecasting Division Lahore has predicted scattered thunderstorm/rain of moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls over Islamabad, Punjab (Rawalpindi Division) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Peshawar Division), including over the upper catchments of Rivers Indus and Jhelum during the next 24 hours.

Isolated thunderstorm/rain may also occur over Punjab (Gujranwala, Sargodha and Lahore Divisions) besides over the upper catchments of Rivers Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej during the same period.