Number of flood-hit people may rise, says Sherry

Minister says rains disrupted essential communications systems

Our Correspondent August 29, 2022
Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman is addressing to a press conference at PID on July 06, 2022. PHOTO: APP


Climate Change Minister Senator Sherry Rehman on Sunday warned that the number of flood-hit people in the country might rise from 33 million as devastating floods continued.

“The humanitarian action is right now being led by the government and supported by United Nations and other humanitarian agencies. [A total of] 1,033 people have lost their lives and more than 1,500 have been injured. Kabul River is still at [a] very high flood level at Nowshera as the water has crossed 300,000 cusecs [and this] is why residents in some areas have not been allowed to come back to their homes, “ she said in a statement.

“Water levels in Indus River at Taunsa, Sukkur and Chashma are at [a] high Flood level as it crossed 500,000 cusecs while Guddu and Kotri are in medium flood level,” she added.

The minister further said rains had disrupted the essential communications systems, which were now being rebuilt by the National Highways Authority (NHA) and others.

Kalam has received most rains at 41.5mm and Bagrot in Gilgit-Baltistan has experienced up to 21mm. More rains are expected in the northern part of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.

As the rain has abated in some areas, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Pakistan Army have increased the number of their helicopters for rescue operations. The Pakistan Navy has also been deployed on a terrain it would not normally operate its boats.

The minister said the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and other ministries were working round the clock with about 35 multilateral and bilateral donors to assess needs and bridge gaps in relief efforts. The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) has started rolling out Rs25,000 relief tranches of Rs35 billion for the most vulnerable.

She added that 218,112 beneficiaries had been provided with immediate cash assistance.

The government is providing Rs1 million in ex-gratia compensation to the next of kin of families, who have lost their loved ones and Rs250,000 to those who have been injured.

Sherry said a sum of Rs500,000 was being provided for each fully destroyed house and Rs250,000 for partially destroyed one.

However, hygiene kits, waterproof tents are still short on the ground for stranded families.

Many are being housed in empty schools as the ground is too wet.

“Just as we battled with relentless rains in the south of Pakistan in over 72 calamity-hit districts, Indus River flooding from the north has increased the number of calamity-hit districts as reports of floods in Gilgit-Baltistan have come in as well. It’s really a perfect storm,” the minister said.

The minister claimed that it was unfortunate that at a time of national emergency, the opposition leadership and rank and file were busy scoring points instead of helping those in need.

“From social media activists who are urging local and international donors to not assist Pakistan’s vulnerable people and over 33 million affected people, the toxic discourse of the PTI continues to compromise Pakistan’s relief efforts. This is highly irresponsible behaviour at a time when the country is reeling from shocks never seen before,” she added.

(With input from APP)


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