Officials in Pakistan have requested the international world to assist with relief efforts as the country battles to cope with the consequences of torrential rains that created major floods last month, killing more than 800 people.

Funding and rehabilitation efforts will be difficult for cash-strapped Pakistan, which must slash spending in order for the International Monetary Fund to approve the release of desperately needed bailout funds.

Sardar Sarfaraz, a senior official at the metrological office, told Reuters on Wednesday that July’s nationwide rainfall was about 200% above average, making it the wettest July since 1961.

“There is no question that the provinces or Islamabad will be able to deal with this magnitude of climate disaster on their own.” Thousands of people are homeless, and lives are at stake. “International partners must mobilize assistance,” tweeted Sherry Rehman, Federal Minister for Climate Change.

Heavy monsoon rains and floods have harmed 2.3 million people in Pakistan since mid-June, demolishing at least 95,350 buildings and damaging another 224,100, according to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The two most impacted provinces are Sindh in the country’s south east and Balochistan in the country’s south west. More than 504,000 animals have been killed, almost all in Balochistan, while damage to roughly 3,000 kilometers of road and 129 bridges has hampered mobility around flood-affected areas.

The primary supply route from Karachi has been closed for more than a week after a bridge connecting it to Balochistan was washed away, while scores of tiny dams in the region were swamped.

“The federal government has also requested assistance from international development partners so that reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by flooding can begin once the water recedes,” said Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, in a tweet.

In Sindh, the government has shuttered all educational institutions in preparation for more rain on Wednesday and Thursday, while an airport in the Nawabshah area has remained closed, with the airstrip nearly completely submerged.

“It is a climate catastrophe on an epic scale, bringing with it a humanitarian crisis that could rival the magnitude of the 2010 flood,” Rehman warned.

Source: Reuters


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