- Minister says nearly 30 million people have become homeless
Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said on Thursday that Pakistan had witnessed 784% higher rainfall than average so far this year.
Addressing a press conference, she said “around 30 million people have been rendered homeless” while 913 people have died due to the rains and flooding.
“There is forecast of one more spell of rains in mid-September and the government is bracing for it,” she warned.
She added that devastating floods accompanied the monsoon rains have substantially damaged infrastructure in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, noting that the level of inundated water was far higher than during the 2010 floods.
“An eighth wave of flash flooding is underway and we have announced a national emergency,” Rehman said.
According to her, 30 districts of Sindh were submerged in water and communication links to them disrupted. Even trains cannot access these places because railway tracks are immersed in sand, she said.
Terming the situation critical, she said the government had no option but to exhaust all resources to deal with the situation.
Rehman emphasised that the government has deployed all water pumps, earth extractors and other infrastructure management tools available in Pakistan.
Currently the Pakistan Army, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) are conducting relief and rescue activities.
She said that by the time the authorities finish work at one place, many more rain related tragedies emerge in other places of the country.
She also said date and cotton crops have been severely damaged in “the worst monsoon ever.”
Giving a province-wise breakup, the climate change minister said that Sindh recorded 292 deaths, Balochistan 230, Punjab 164 and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 169.
“Moreover, many people, particularly children, sustained injuries,” she said.
She stressed that no government could deal with the devastation alone and was glad to see that the public of Pakistan was donating towards relief efforts with zeal.
Sindh, Balochistan and federal government have ample tents but food is in deficit, she notified.
The government is also approaching international donors for help.
The minister added that Pakistan lacked resources to create a climate resilient system.
“It costs millions of dollars to have climate resilient cities. Climate change is accelerating and extreme weather events are more frequent,” she said.