March 25, 2023

The death toll from widespread flooding in Pakistan has surpassed 1,000 since mid-June, officials said on Sunday, as the country’s climate minister called the deadly monsoon season “a serious climate disaster.”

Flash floods triggered by torrential rains washed away villages and crops as soldiers and rescuers evacuated stranded residents to safe relief camps and fed thousands of displaced Pakistanis.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority reported that since the start of the monsoon season this year earlier than normal (mid-June), the death toll came after new fatalities were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southern Sindh provinces. The number has reached 1,033.

Pakistan’s Senator Sherry Rehman, the country’s top climate official, said in a video posted on Twitter that Pakistan was experiencing “a severe climate catastrophe, one of the worst in a decade.”

“We are currently at ground zero on the front lines of extreme weather events, in the midst of a relentless cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake eruptions, flooding events, and now a decade-long monster monsoon is raging. – Stop the devastation nationwide. ,”she says. The statement in front of the camera was retweeted by the country’s ambassador to the EU.

Floods from the Swat River affected northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa overnight, with tens of thousands of people – especially in the Charsada and Nowshehra areas – having been removed from their homes Evacuate to relief camps set up in government buildings. Provincial government spokesman Kamran Bangash said many were still taking shelter by the roadside.

The unprecedented monsoon season has affected all four provinces of the country. Nearly 300,000 homes were destroyed, many roads were impassable, and widespread power outages affected millions of people.

Rehman told Turkish news outlet TRT World that when the rain subsides, “we are likely to have a quarter or a third of Pakistan flooded.”

“This is a global crisis and we certainly need better planning and sustainability locally. … We need to have crops and structures that are resilient to climate change,” she said.

In May, Lehman told BBC Newshour there were extreme weather events in both the north and south of the country due to rising temperatures. “So in the north, we’ve actually just… been experiencing what’s called a glacial lake outburst flood because Pakistan has the largest number of glaciers outside the polar regions.”

The government has deployed soldiers to help civil authorities carry out rescue and relief operations across the country.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani military said in a statement it had airlifted 22 tourists trapped in a valley in the north of the country to safety.

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