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Pix: Floods spell doom in Pakistan again, 5.3 mn affected

Last updated on: September 13, 2011 13:31 IST

Floods spell doom in Pakistan again, 5.3 mn affected

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Floodwaters surged through many parts of Pakistan's southern Sindh province on Tuesday following unprecedented rains over the past 10 days, with the deluge claiming over 200 lives and affecting an estimated 5.3 million people.

Torrential rains have lashed many parts of the province for over a week, causing water levels to rise in many districts and impeding rescue and relief operations. The National Disaster Management Authority said the floods had affected 23 districts of Sindh and submerged some 4.5 million acres.

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Image: A man rides his donkey cart loaded with chairs through a flooded street, after a heavy downpour in Lahore
Photographs: Reuters
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Pak floods claim 218 lives

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A total of 218 people had died while 495 were injured, NDMA chief Zafar Qadir said while briefing a special meeting of representatives of foreign missions and international bodies organised on Monday by the foreign office to mobilise aid for the flood victims.

Crops spread over 1.7 million acres have been damaged and about 1.2 million homes have been washed away by floods.

The Sindh government says an estimated 280,000 people are sheltering in 2,000 relief camps.

Image: Villagers wade through flood waters with their belongings in the Tando Allahyar, district of Pakistan's Sindh province
Photographs: Reuters
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'It's a humanitarian emergency'

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"While the government had mobilised all national resources, the severity and magnitude of the floods had created a humanitarian emergency requiring support from the international community," the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Qamar Zaman Kaira, a member of the prime minister's flood relief committee, said the nature of this year's floods was more dangerous than those in 2010 caused by unprecedented rainfall.

In the next stage, rehabilitation aid will be required, including for infrastructure, rebuilding destroyed houses and means of livelihood, he said.

Image: Residents ride motorcycles through a flooded street after heavy rains in Peshawar
Photographs: Reuters
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Zardari, Gilani turn to UN, world for help

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Relief organisations say winter shelter, medicines, sanitation equipment and support for restoring basic health and education services will be priorities in the weeks ahead.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have made special appeals to the world community and the UN to provide urgently needed aid for the flood victims but China and Iran are among the few countries that have pledged assistance so far.


Image: Monsoon clouds are seen as a family flee their flooded village in the Tando Allahyar district of Pakistan's Sindh province
Photographs: Reuters
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'Govt unable to estimate extent of damage'

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"Once again the government spread its hand out to potential donors, but with mixed results. Most donor countries are not impressed with Pakistan's consistent desire to have others bankroll their relief efforts while the country's own elite evade taxes and the government splurges money on populist programmes," The Express Tribune newspaper said in a report on the floods.

"What is more worrisome is that the government is still unable to fully estimate the extent of the damage or coordinate relief efforts," it added.

The army and the government have been spearheading relief efforts, with few NGOs or international agencies providing any assistance.

"The cold response comes not for donor fatigue, say observers, but from questions being raised over the government's ability to raise a portion of the funds," The Express Tribune reported.

Image: Villagers, who evacuated their flooded villages, sit on higher grounds with their belongings in the Tando Allahyar
Photographs: Reuters
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