Authorities say floods in Pakistan could take up to six months to recede

Floods caused by record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in Pakistan’s northern mountainous regions have so far claimed more than 1,400 lives, affected an estimated 33 million people, and swept away homes, roads, railways, livestock and crops. Total damages are now expected to be more than $30 billion – three times the previous estimate of about $10 billion.

“Karachi is experiencing an outbreak of dengue with hundreds and thousands of patients reporting daily in government and private hospitals. Dengue cases this year are 50% higher than last year. With 584,246 people in camps across the country, the health crisis could trigger Pakistan Climate Minister Sherry Rehman said on Monday that chaos would go unchecked.

Rahman warned that the country is now facing the prospect of massive food shortages, due to the destruction of up to 70% of staple crops such as rice and maize, and much-needed “food, tents and medicine”.

Rising flood waters also remain a risk, particularly in hard-hit areas along the Indus River in Sindh Province, where the meteorological forecast indicates that rain is expected to continue through September.

Prolonged monsoon rains will delay water clean-up efforts, with estimates ranging from 3 to 6 months in some of the hardest-hit areas, the Chief Minister of Sindh Province, Murad Ali Shah, said in a statement on Monday.

He added that the country’s largest freshwater lake, Munshar, had been overflowing since early September, with flood waters affecting several hundred villages and more than 100,000 people.

“We are accelerating our efforts to provide medicines and medical staff to the 81 flood-affected districts in the country. However, these are still very preliminary estimates as new data is emerging on the ground,” Shah said.

Both the Pakistani government and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have blamed global climate change for worsening extreme weather that has caused “monsoons on steroids”, inundating a third of the country’s land.

On a two-day visit to flood-hit Pakistan, Guterres expressed his “deep solidarity with the Pakistani people over the heavy loss of life and human suffering caused by this year’s floods”, and met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on the response to the disaster.

Guterres called on the international community on Friday to support flood-stricken Pakistan, saying that although the South Asian country’s contribution to climate change was minimal, it was one of the regions most affected by its consequences.
“Pakistan has not contributed in a meaningful way to climate change, and the level of emissions in this country is relatively low, but Pakistan is one of the countries most significantly affected by climate change, it is the front line of the impact of climate change,” Guterres said after attending a briefing at the National Center for Response Coordination. for Pakistan Floods (NFRCC) on Friday.

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