Pakistan appeals for ‘immense’ international response to floods as death toll rises

Flood-affected people wade through a flooded area caused by heavy rain in Pakistan. Credit: AP

Pakistan has appealed to the global community for an “immense humanitarian response” to unprecedented flooding that has killed over 1,200 people, saying the country faces its "hour of need".

Federal planning minister Ahsan Iqbal called for a stepping up of relief efforts for the millions of people affected by monsoon rains that triggered the floods, which have so far submerged one third of the country.

In its latest report, released on Saturday, Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority counted 57 more deaths from flood-affected areas.

That brought the total death toll since monsoon rains began in mid-June to 1,265, including 441 children.

“The scale of devastation is massive and requires an immense humanitarian response for 33 million people," Mr Iqbal told a news conference.

"For this I appeal to my fellow Pakistanis, Pakistan expatriates and the international community to help Pakistan in this hour of need."

Homes are surrounded by floodwaters in Jaffarabad, a district of Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province. Credit: AP

Government estimates say the rain and flooding have caused $10 billion in damage, with torrential rains and flash floods wreaking havoc to infrastructure, roads, electricity and communications networks.

Experts have blamed the unusual monsoon rains and flooding on climate change.

Pakistan officials urged for relief efforts to be intensified after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the world to stop “sleepwalking” through the deadly crisis earlier this week.

Minister for National Health Services Abdul Qadir Patel said the government is working to bring normalcy back to the country as soon as possible but that the Pakistani government can’t do it alone.

Officials said army aviation, air force and navy troops were using boats and helicopters to evacuate people from remote regions and to deliver aid.

Children line up for relief after heavy rain in Jaffarabad. Credit: AP

Major Gen Zafar Iqbal, head of the flood response centre said that over the last four days, 29 planes loaded with relief goods arrived in Pakistan from countries including Turkey, the UAE, China, Qatar and Jordan.

The US announced $30 million worth of aid for the flood victims earlier this week.

Health officials have expressed concern about the spread of water borne diseases among the homeless people living in relief camps and in tents alongside roads.

Getting food to people is another concern after food supplies were damaged or lost, crops destroyed and livestock killed.

More than £13 million has been donated to UK charities in just two days to help people in Pakistan.

The Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) appeal to help those affected by the large-scale flooding in the country has raised £13.5 million after launching on Thursday. The total includes £5 million matched pound-for-pound by the UK government through the aid match scheme.

DEC charities are working to provide food, clean water and emergency shelter as well as healthcare, essential hygiene supplies and sanitation. Eleven of the DEC’s member charities are responding to the disaster and are warning that the immediate crisis is far from over, particularly in the south of the country.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know