Authorities in Pakistan have declared a state of national emergency due to the floods that are ravaging the country, a “weather-induced humanitarian crisis of epic proportions” according to the government, and which already leaves at least 937 dead, including 343 children, and 30 million people homeless.
The rains have taken their toll on the people of Sindh province in the south of the country, where more than 300 people have died since the floods began on June 14. The state of Balochistan has reported 234 deaths, while Jibber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab recorded 185 and 165 deaths respectively, according to the balance sheet of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) collected Friday by the newspaper ‘Dawn’.
According to the NDMA, Pakistan received 166.8 mm of rainfall in August compared to the average of 48 mm, an increase of 241 percent. Consequently, the abnormally increased rainfall generated flash floods across the country, particularly in the southern part of Pakistan and specifically in Sindh, where more than a score of municipalities have been submerged.
The Minister for Climate Change, Sherry Rehman, has confirmed in the last hours the opening of a “war room” headed by the Prime Minister, Shabhaz Sharif, to face these “monstrous rains”.
“Pakistan is going through its eighth monsoon cycle; normally the country has only three or four monsoon rain cycles. This is unprecedented and the data we are shuffling around hints that we could go through another ninth cycle next month,” he said.
The European Union announced Friday that it will allocate 1.8 million euros in humanitarian aid to assist people affected by the floods, through organizations working on the ground and seek to alleviate the consequences of monsoon rains.
This includes the provision of temporary shelters, food, water, health services and transfers. This aid is in addition to the 350,000 euros sent to help communities in Balochistan in particular.