The country’s climate change minister calls the situation “an epic humanitarian disaster”.
More than 30 million people were left homeless after the floods that affected Pakistan. According to the country’s climate change minister, the country qualifies the disaster as being of “epic proportions”.
Pakistan has urged the international community to help with relief efforts as the struggle to cope with the aftermath of the rains has killed more than 900 people.
Several rivers in Khyber Pahktunkhwa province overflowed their banks and destroyed dozens of buildings, including a 150-room hotel.
Junaid Khan, 23, owner of two fish farms in Charsadda, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the house he had built “disappeared” before his eyes.
“We sat by the side of the road and watched our dream house sink,” he added.
Monsoons are important for irrigating crops and replenishing water resources on the Indian subcontinent, but they also bring their share of tragedy and destruction every year between June and September.
According to the Pakistani executive, more than 33 million people, about one-seventh of the country’s population, were affected by the floods and close to a million homes were destroyed or severely damaged.
Today, the authorities ordered thousands of people in the district of Swat, with more than two million inhabitants, to leave their homes before the rivers overflowed the banks.
According to the authorities, this year’s storms are comparable to those of 2010, when 2,000 people died and almost 20% of the territory was submerged by rains.
Pakistan is particularly vulnerable to climate change, being the eighth country most threatened by extreme weather events, according to a study by the non-governmental organization Germanwatch.
This threat is exacerbated by poorly designed urban planning programs, which have led to the construction of buildings in flood-prone areas.
The Pakistani government declared a state of emergency on Friday, mobilizing the army to face “a catastrophe of rare proportions”, as the Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, called it.
The European Union announced today that it has allocated €1.8 million in humanitarian aid to families affected by the floods in Pakistan.
In a statement, the community executive points out that the humanitarian aid aims to support, in particular, the affected populations in some of the hardest hit districts in the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with funding being allocated to EU humanitarian partners operating on the ground.
Last week, the EU had already allocated 350,000 euros in aid to the populations of the Balochistan province affected by the floods.
The Pakistan National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that the worst floods in recent years resulted in the deaths of 937 people, 34 in the last 24 hours, including 17 children, and at least 1,343 were injured.
Although the NDMA reports that four million people were affected by the floods, Sherry Rehman raised that number to 30 million in various parts of the Asian country.
“About 30 million people have been displaced from their homes,” Rehman said at a press conference, calling the situation a “national emergency”.
The minister specified that the country recorded rainfall levels 241% above normal in August alone, with some provinces, such as the south of Sinde, experiencing rainfall levels that represented an increase of around 784%.
Source: With Agencies