Monsoon rains continue to cause devastating flood in Pakistan with a third of the country under water and “6.4 plus million people in dire need of humanitarian aid”. In the past few weeks, record monsoon rains dumped more than five times the 30-year average for rainfall in some provinces, killing more than 1,200 people and injuring over 6,000 since June. Nearly 400 children are among the fatalities.
Stating that the scale of humanitarian crisis in Pakistan is unprecedented, World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in the country Dr. Palitha Mahipala said that more than 33 million people were affected that represents 15 per cent of the total Pakistani population.
PAKISTAN FLOOD; MOST AFFECTED
Southern and central Pakistan are the most affected regions, particularly Balochistan and Sindh provinces. Balochistan received 5.1 times its 30-year average rainfall as of 27 August. Sindh received 5.7 times its 30-year average. Balochistan, Sindh and south Punjab witnessed Hill torrents. Most districts in Sindh were inundated.
PAKISTAN FLOOD; IMPACT
The Government of Pakistan estimates that rains, floods and consequent impacts such as landslides affected around 33 million people across the country. They said that more than 421,000 refugees living in calamity-declared districts are also affected or at risk. As of August 27, some 6.4 million people are estimated to be in need of assistance. According to the NDMA, between June 14 and August 27, at least 1,033 people were killed and 1,527 people injured, with numbers increasing as rains continue. The authorities said that over 287,000 houses have been destroyed and over 662,000 partially damaged. Further, more than 719,000 livestock have died, of which some 69 per cent are in Balochistan and 28 per cent in Punjab. Apart from this, around two million acres of crops and orchards have been affected to date, of which 304,475 acres are in Balochistan, 178,186 acres in Punjab and around 1.54 million acres in Sindh.
Many rivers, including the Indus River, which traverses the length of Pakistan, are at high flood warning level and/or have breached their banks, and major dam reservoirs are rapidly filling or already overflowing, posing further risk to people in the vicinity and downstream.
PAKISTAN FLOOD; DISEASE RISK
With rains continuing, the UN agencies said that there was an urgent need to scale up disease surveillance, restore damaged health facilities, ensure sufficient medicines and health supplies to affected communities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the threat of further spread of malaria, dengue fever and other water and vector-borne diseases. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the UN agency has classified the situation as a grade 3 emergency – the highest level of its internal grading system – that means all three levels of the organization are involved in the response: the country and regional offices, as well as its headquarters in Geneva.
“Pakistan already had a high level of stunting, and the areas where that’s a major health issue,are the same areas that are now flooded,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Pakistan, Abdullah Fadil.“The anticipation list of waterborne diseases – diarrhea, cholera, all the diseases you can imagine – will hit, and quite soon, so we need to be in place to respond to those as well.”
PAKISTAN FLOOD; CLIMATE CHANGE FACTOR
The country faced dramatic weather conditions this year, from record heat waves to deadly floods. Pakistan is home to more glaciers than anywhere outside the polar areas. Global warming makes the country more vulnerable to sudden outburstsof melting glacier water, according to the Meteorological Department in Islamabad.