29 Aug 2022

Pakistan floods: Appeals for aid as 119 more die in a day

7:16 am on 29 August 2022

By Alys Davies

Pakistan is appealing for further international assistance as floods devastate the country, leaving people searching for higher, drier ground.

A general view of a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains is pictured from atop a bridge in Charsadda district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on 27 August, 2022. Heavy rain pounded much of Pakistan on 26 August after the government declared an emergency to deal with monsoon flooding it said had affected more than 30 million people.

Floodwaters inundate a village in Charsadda district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, following heavy monsoon rains. Photo: ABDUL MAJEED

The death toll from the monsoon rains has reached 1,033 - with 119 killed in the last 24 hours, the National Disaster Management Authority says.

The US, UK, UAE and others have contributed to a disaster appeal, but more funds are needed, officials say.

One man told the BBC his daughter had been swept away by a flooded river.

"She told me: 'Daddy, I'm going to collect leaves for my goat'," Muhammad Fareed, who lives in the Kaghan Valley in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said.

"She went to the bank of the river and a gush of water followed and took her away."

Interior ministry official Salman Sufi told the BBC the country was desperate for international support.

"Pakistan has been grappling with economic issues, but now just when we were about to overcome them the monsoon disaster hit," he said.

Funding from a lot of development projects had been re-routed to the affected people, he added.

According to reports by the Dawn newspaper, Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced a grant of 10 billion rupees (NZ$74 million) for those in the most affected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Every flood-affected family would be given 25,000 rupees (NZ$184), Sharif said, which would be disbursed within a week.

In the north-west of the country, thousands of people fled their homes after rivers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa burst their banks, causing powerful flash floods.

"The house which we built with years of hard work started sinking in front of our eyes," Junaid Khan, 23, told the AFP news agency. "We sat on the side of the road and watched our dream house sinking."

The province of Sindh in the south-east of the country has also been badly affected, with thousands displaced from their homes.

Sharif said 33 million people had been hit by the floods - about 15 percent of the country's population.

He said the losses caused by floods this season were comparable to those during the floods of 2010-11, said to be the worst on record.

Officials in the country blame climate change for the devastation.

But poor local government planning has exacerbated the impact in the past, with buildings often erected in areas prone to seasonal flooding.

Pakistani people wade through flood water after flash floods hit the Charsadda district in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan on 28 August, 2022. Pakistan has called for international assistance and help in dealing with the floods that have killed more than 900 people since June.

Pakistani people wade through floodwaters after flash floods hit Pakistan's Charsadda district. Photo: ZUBAIR ABBASI

'No food has come here'

By Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, Sindh

There were displaced people in all of the villages we drove through across Sindh.

The full scale of the devastation in the province is yet to be fully understood, but on the ground the people describe it as the worst disaster they've survived.

Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan but the people here tell us these rains were different. They were more than anything that's ever been seen here. One local official described them as "floods of biblical proportions".

Near the city of Larkana, thousands of mud homes have sunk under water, and for miles all that's visible is treetops.

Where the water level is slightly lower, thatched roofs creep out from underneath the menacing water.

The needs of the survivors are varied. In one village we visit, the people sat there are desperate for food. In another they say they've got their grains, but they need money to meet their other needs.

We visit one where many children have developed waterborne diseases. A mobile truck pulls over and scores immediately run towards it. Children carrying other children make their way to the long queue.

One 12-year-old girl says she and her baby sister have not eaten in a day. "No food has come here. But my sister is sick, she has been vomiting, I hope they can help."

* Additional reporting by Farhat Javed in the Kaghan Valley.