ISLAMABAD: Flash floods caused by abnormally heavy monsoon rains killed at least 549 people in Pakistan over the past month, with remote communities in the impoverished southwestern province of Balochistan among the hardest hit.
Government agencies and the army have set up aid and relief camps in flood-hit regions and were working to help relocate families and provide food and medicine.
Aside from the fatalities, the flooding had damaged more than 46,200 houses, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said yesterday.
“We’re doing our best to provide for extensive relief and rehabilitation of flood victims,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said during his visit to stricken areas.
But the Balochistan provincial government said it needed more funds and appealed to international organisations for assistance.
“Our losses are massive,” the province’s chief minister Abdul Qudoos Bezenjo said.
There were food shortages in every district hit by the flooding, with some also disconnected from the rest of the province due to more than 700km of roads being washed away.
The past month was the wettest in three decades, with 133 per cent more rain than the average for the past 30 years, the NDMA said.
Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, received 305pc more rain than the annual average, the disaster agency said.
During his visit to flood-hit Rojhan in south Punjab, Sharif said relief and rehabilitation facilities would be provided to victims. He emphasised the need for a joint survey by federal and provincial governments to assess the damages.
The prime minister had an aerial view of the area to see the devastation caused by the heavy rains.
He was briefed by the authorities on the relief and rehabilitation work, including the supply of food, drinking water and basic health facilities to the displaced people in temporary shelters.
Mobile hospitals and other facilities too have been provided to the flood-affected.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Meteorological Department forecast another spell of heavy monsoon rains in the next few days that could hamper rescuers’ efforts even further.