Flooded highways hamper relief efforts in Balochistan

Province suffers more than Rs200 billion worth of damage, says Balochistan CM

Reuters August 29, 2022
A woman is seen with her belongings, as her family took refuge on a higher ground following rains and floods during the monsoon season in Sohbatpur, Pakistan August 28, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS


Balochistan has suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in economic damage due to devastation from flooding as damage to highways hampers relief efforts, the province's chief minister said on Monday.

In the north, residents and officials said villages were almost entirely cut off from the rest of the country due to destruction brought by heavy rains.

The unusually strong monsoon rains have caused devastating floods in large swathes of the country, affecting more than 30 million people and killing more than 1,000, and straining official relief and rescue efforts.

Read more: Massive relief operation under way as flood death toll rises

Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo told reporters that the province had suffered more than Rs200 billion ($900 million) worth of damage from the more than two months of flooding.

"We are facing a lack of financial resources, tents and other relief goods and connectivity as all major highways is badly damaged ... hampering our relief efforts," he said, adding that his province needed more help from federal government departments to cope.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari told Reuters on Sunday that the country needs financial help to deal with "overwhelming" floods, adding that he hoped financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund would take the economic fallout into account.

Also read: Nawabshah pivotal point for flood relief, says Faisal Edhi

Some initial analyses by economists have put the cost of the damage at $4 billion, though the foreign minister said it was likely higher.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth on Monday said in a message of support to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif: "My thoughts are with all those who have been affected, as well as those working in difficult circumstances to support the recovery efforts."

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's Swat Valley - home to millions of people - was largely cut off from the rest of the country due to damaged infrastructure and flood waters. Local residents said that food and medicine was running out and they had little access to power.

Pakistan has appealed for international support and some countries including Turkey have sent supplies and a rescue team.


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