Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh is facing disaster once more with heavy rains over the past five days, according to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). “Two million people in 15 [out of 23] districts have been affected,” PDMA Director of Operations Sajjad Haider told IRIN. He also said crops had been devastated.
Eighty-five people are reported to have died and provincial authorities have announced disaster relief measures, including compensation packages for victims. Haider said crops had been devastated.
A local official in Badin District in southern Sindh, who asked not to be named, said: “The international humanitarian agencies are likely to be called in soon.”
“My sugarcane crop, which was ready for harvesting, has been lost. I am still recovering from last year’s losses of crops and livestock. Who knows what will happen now,” said Majeed-ud-Din, 40, from his village in Khairpur, one of the worst-hit districts.
Haider said most deaths had been caused by collapsing houses or electrocution, and troops had been asked to “stand by”.
The Sindh chief minister has visited the affected areas and funds have been released for rescue and rehabilitation work.
While the monsoon season runs from July to September, rains are generally heaviest in July and August. For now the Meteorological Office is continuing to predict further rains across most parts of the country.
Other regions affected
These rains have already caused significant damage and loss of life in other regions too.
In the remote Kohistan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (KP) flash floods triggered by heavy rain last week are now confirmed by District Coordination Officer Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah as having killed at least 33 people. Media reports put the death toll at almost double that figure, with dozens of houses including an entire village swept away by torrents pouring down hillsides.
Flash floods have also caused significant damage in at least five districts of the southwestern province of Balochistan, forcing people to flee from low-lying areas to higher ground in a bid to save lives. “Some houses have been badly damaged and property swept away. After last year’s experience we were willing to take no risks, so hundreds of us have moved to higher ground,” Shahzeb Baloch, a goat herder, told IRIN from Jaffarabad District.
“A survey has been conducted to determine the losses caused by the heavy rains in Loralai, and a state of emergency has been declared and teams of doctors, along with medicines, are arriving at the rain-affected areas,” Sohail Rehman Baloch, deputy commissioner of Loralai District, told the media.
Adnan Khan, PDMA spokesman in KP, told IRIN “meetings are being held” to decide on necessary measures.
The flooding has brought back memories of the 2010 floods, which affected 18 million people, according to UN agencies. Sindh, where 7.2 million people were affected, was the worst hit.