Planning minister says initial losses from floods could be at least $10b n Finance Minister says govt may ‘consider importing vegetables other edibles from India’ n One-third of Pakistan completely submerged by flooding: Climate minister n 11 drown as boat carrying flood victims capsizes in Indus River.

ISLAMABAD/JAMSHORO/LONDON    -   The death toll from monsoon rains swelled to 1,136 on Mon­day as authorities warn the country will soon be facing food shortage due to crops loss and might need five years to rebuild and rehabilitate the flood losses. 

Radio Pakistan reported that according to a situation report of the National Disaster Manage­ment Authority (NDMA), at least 1,634 individuals were injured in various rain and flood-relat­ed incidents and over 735,375 livestock animals were lost. Ad­ditionally, over 3,451 kilometres of roads, 149 bridges, 170 shops, and949,858 houses were dam­aged across the country. Also, at least 11 people were drowned while seven others rescued when a boat carrying flood victims capsized in In­dus River at village Bilawalpur in Sehwan Sharif in Jamshoro district on Monday. According to the police, the people who drowned were migrating from submerged villages to save their lives when their boat over­turned in Bilawalpur.

Sindh Police jawans, including Pakistan Navy through helicop­ter were able to rescue seven persons from the floodwaters and the search for the remain­ing persons is underway. Ac­cording to the district police, at least 30 people were on the boat when the unfortunate accident occurred. Deputy Commission­er Jamshoro Farid Uddin Mus­tafa said 10 bodies had been re­trieved from the river so far, and shifted to the Abdullah Shah Institute of Medical Sciences. Those who died in the unfortu­nate incident were identified as Vakila Khokhar, Rehan Khokhar, Reshmaan Khokhar, Samina Khokhar, Manzoor Khokhar, Fa­rooq Khokhar, Iqra Imrani, Sha­bana Rahputo, Shahzoor Chana and Zubeida Chana.

“The crisis has displaced one-seventh of the country’s population. The initial losses from the floods could be at least $10 billion,” says Planning Min­ister Ahsan Iqbal.

In an interview to Reuters on Monday, Iqbal said: “I think it is going to be huge. So far, (a) very early, preliminary estimate is that it is big, it is higher than $10 billion.” He added that Pa­kistan will soon be facing food shortage due to crops loss and might need five years to rebuild and rehabilitate the flood loss­es. On the other hand, climate minister says one-third of Paki­stan has been completely sub­merged by historic flooding. Devastating flash floods have washed away roads, homes and crops - leaving a trail of deadly havoc across Pakistan.

“It’s all one big ocean, there’s no dry land to pump the water out,” Sherry Rehman told AFP, adding it had created a “ crisis of unimaginable proportions.” The summer rain is the heavi­est recorded in a decade and is blamed by the government on climate change.

Of those who are known to have died, 75 were in the past 24 hours alone, officials said on Monday, adding that the death toll is expected to rise. Speaking to the BBC, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said one-third of those killed are believed to be children. “We’re still coming to grips with the ex­tent of the damage,” he added.

Officials estimate that more than 33-million Pakistanis - one in seven people - have been af­fected by the historic flood­ing. Heavy waters in the coun­try’s northern Swat Valley have swept away bridges and roads, cutting off entire villages.

Minister for Planning, Develop­ment, and Special Initiatives Ah­san Iqbal also Monday said that the country might face a big chal­lenge of food security as rice, ba­nana, onion and other agricul­ture produces had been badly affected by the recent floods. Ad­dressing a press briefing here, he said that the recent floods and torrential rains had also dam­aged 40 to 50 percent cotton crop across the country. The min­ister said the country was wit­nessing more devastation than that caused by the floods in 2010. 

He informed that 0.9 million livestock and one million hous­es had been washed away in the recent floods while over 1000 people lost their lives. 

In 2013, he said when the PML-N government took the charge, the country had al­ready faced devastated floods in 2010 and it launched the fourth phase of Pakistan flood protec­tion programme to minimize the impacts of such floods.

“In May 2017, we got ap­proved the Programme from Council of Common Interest duly signed by all the provinces and it was agreed that new in­frastructure would be built un­der the programme”, he added.

The minister said it was also agreed that Rs 177 billion would be spent under the programme and the provinces would con­tribute half of the amount. 

However, he said despite com­pleting the final roadmap to spend Rs 177 billion under the programme, the next PTI gov­ernment dumped this pro­gramme in the cold storage and not a single rupee was spent on it. Had we spent Rs 177 billion under the programme, the loss would be far less than what we were facing now, he added. Ah­san Iqbal said a big challenge was ahead as 30 million peo­ple had been affected and the government had to help them standing on their feet.