Floods affect 5.3 million in Pakistan

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

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2011, 13:32 PM IST

Islamabad: Flood waters surged through many
parts of Pakistan`s southern Sindh province today 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.

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
organisations organised yesterday 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 flood waters.
The Sindh government says an estimated 280,000 people are
sheltering in 2,000 relief camps.

"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.
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.

PTI