Tens of millions of Pakistanis are today struggling to cope with the worst monsoon rains “in 30 years”, which have killed 1,061 people and destroyed countless homes and vital farmland.
This year’s monsoon rains that began in June are “unprecedented in 30 years”, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said today on a tour of the affected areas of northern Pakistan.
“The floods (that have been caused) are like an ocean, there is water everywhere,” he added.
A massive rescue operation is underway in the country, where international aid began arriving slowly today as the Indus, the country’s main river, is now at risk of overflowing.
More than 33 million people, or one in seven Pakistanis, have been affected by the floods and nearly a million homes have been destroyed or severely damaged, according to the government.
According to the latest tally by the national disaster management authority (NDMA), at least 1,061 people have lost their lives since the start of the monsoon season in June, with 28 killed in the last 24 hours.
Authorities are still trying to reach isolated villages in mountainous areas in northern Pakistan, meaning the toll could get even heavier.
“We are seeing an ocean of water in which entire districts have been submerged,” said Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, who hours earlier had described the phenomenon as the “monster monsoon of the decade”. “The consequences of climate change have come to our door,” he added.
This year’s floods in Pakistan can be compared to those of 2010, a year in which 2,000 people died and almost a fifth of the country was submerged in the water of the monsoon rains, which usually last from June to in September.
Pakistani authorities attribute these devastating floods to climate change, noting that Pakistan is suffering the consequences of irresponsible environmental policies in other parts of the world.