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Pakistan rains, floods leave over 900 dead

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By CECILIA ODEY

ISLAMABAD- As many as 903 people were killed, nearly 1,300 injured and thousands left homeless as heavy monsoon rains and flash floods continued to wreck havoc in Pakistan since mid-June.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Wednesday.

More than 70 people died and over 82,000 houses were damaged over the past 24 hours in various rain-related incidents in parts of the country, according to the NDMA statistics.

Pakistan has urged the international community to help, as the country struggles to cope with the aftermath of the torrential rains and massive floods.

Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said that the current climate catastrophe needed immediate international and national mobilisation of humanitarian efforts.

He stressed that the assistance was not just in the form of food, shelter and basic survival amenities, but also in rescue efforts.

“Given the scale of the disaster, there is no question of the provinces or even Islamabad being able to cope with this magnitude of climate catastrophe on their own.

“Lives are at risk, and thousands are homeless. It is important that international partners mobilise assistance,’’ the minister said.

The southern Sindh province remained one of the worst-hit regions, where 293 people died in different rain-related incidents.

It is followed by 230 in the south western Balochistan province, said the NDMA.

The total fatalities also included 169 reported in the north western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and 164 in the eastern Punjab province.

Floods have also damaged over 495,000 houses across Pakistan apart from washing away roads and damaging bridges since mid-June, according to the NDMA.

Considering the prediction of more rains in the country, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday directed concerned authorities to expedite rescue and relief operations.

“The rehabilitation in the calamity-hit areas is a gigantic task. This is possible only through collective efforts,’’ Sharif said.

Meanwhile, local authorities along with the Pakistani army are continuing with rescue and relief activities, sending food items, tents, medicines and other essential items to almost all the flood-hit areas.

Talking to Xinhua, Naseer Ibraheem, a volunteer for a local non-governmental organisation in southern Badin district, said the recent spell of heavy rains has caused unprecedented destruction in the district.

The government had declared southern Badin district a calamity-hit area.

“I have never seen such damage caused by rains in the past.

“It has rained many folds more in Sindh. People are forced to live in makeshift camps and tents as they have lost their houses to heavy downpours and floods,’’ Ibraheem said.

“Our organisation, like several others in the area, is providing food, tents and cash to help stranded people.

“I cannot describe how unfortunate the situation is for them, they have lost almost everything they had to rains and floods. They need our help,’’ he added. (Xinhua/NAN)

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