April 1, 2023

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains in much of Pakistan have killed nearly 1,000 people, injured thousands and displaced thousands since mid-June, officials said Saturday.

The new death toll comes a day after Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif asked the international community to help fight the devastation of deadly floods in the impoverished Islamic country.

The monsoon season, which started in June, brought Pakistan’s particularly heavy rainfall this year, and rescuers have been trying to evacuate thousands of people trapped in flood-hit areas. The crisis forced the government to declare a state of emergency.

In northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, flooding destroyed the gates of one of the main water control systems on the Swat River, causing flooding in the Charsadda and Nowshera areas, said Sania Safi, a senior manager at Charsadda.

“We preemptively warned and forced undecided residents to leave their homes for safety and move to relief camps set up in government buildings in safe locations,” she said.

Safi said there were fears of further rise in water levels in the Swat and Kabul rivers, adding to the suffering of residents who had already suffered loss of life and property.

In Nowshera district, local administrator Quratul Ain Wazir said floodwaters inundated streets and then poured into low-lying areas.

“Our government has evacuated many people and brought others to relief camps, and the government is providing beds and food in safe buildings,” she said. … “We will use the police to force those who hesitate to leave their homes.”

Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb said soldiers and aid groups were helping people stay safe in many areas in southern Sindh, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eastern Punjab and southwestern Balochistan.

“The government has approved sufficient funds to provide financial compensation to those affected and we will not leave our people alone in this difficult time,” she said.

Aurangzeb asked the wealthy and aid groups to come forward to help Pakistanis affected by the floods.

In response to Sharif’s appeal for international aid, the United Nations plans to issue an urgent appeal for donations of $160 million, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar. The appeal will be launched on August 30, he said in his weekly briefing on Friday.

The picturesque Kalam Valley in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province is one of the areas most affected by rainfall and flooding. The flooded river washed over the entire building, including an iconic hotel.

“The situation is very serious because we don’t have any road connections to the rest of the province, we don’t have electricity, gas and communications networks, and there’s no relief here,” said Muzaffar Khan, whose grocery store was swept away along with many others And light.

Authorities said thousands of people whose homes were washed away are now living in tents away from flooded villages and towns after being rescued by soldiers, local relief workers and volunteers.

In Balochistan, all 34 districts in the impoverished province have been severely affected due to torrential rains and subsequent flooding, said provincial disaster authority spokesman Asadullah Nasir. He said the road network had been destroyed, bridges had been washed away, and rescues could only be carried out by helicopters, which were often unable to operate due to bad weather. Provincial officials have confirmed 235 deaths, he said, but that number is expected to increase significantly when communications are restored.

The National Disaster Management Agency said in its latest nightly report that 45 people were killed in flood-related events from Friday to Saturday. That brings the death toll since mid-June to 982, with 1,456 injured.

Monsoon rains are expected to continue this week, mainly in the south and southwest. The season is usually in Pakistan from July to mid-September.

Heavy rains and subsequent flash floods damaged bridges and road networks in Pakistan, disrupting the supply of fruit and vegetables to the market and causing prices to rise.


Associated Press reporters Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Abdul Sattar in Quetta and Asim Tanveer in Multan, Pakistan contributed to this report.

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