At least 357 people have died, including 140 children, and another 408 have been injured due to rains and flash floods in Pakistan since the start of the monsoon season on Jun.14, according to official sources Thursday.
The authorities expect the number of casualties to increase in the coming days as heavy rains continue to lash the country. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said in a statement that three people were killed and one was injured in the last 24 hours.
The NDMA added that the impoverished Balochistan province has been the worst affected with 190 people dead so far in rain-related incidents, followed by Sindh with 90 deaths.
Due to the monsoon rains this season, 6,042 houses have been fully damaged and 19,450 houses partially damaged; moreover, a total of 977 kilometers of roads and 52 bridges have been damaged, including 38 foot bridges that have collapsed, according to the statement. State-run Radio Pakistan reported that Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif also constituted a committee to assess the damages caused by rains and floods in different parts of the country.
Sharif has also instructed ministers to visit the affected areas over the next four days and submit recommendations for short, medium, and long-term plans by Aug.4, the report said. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan called on the regional governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (where his party is in power) to provide assistance to those affected by the floods.
The military’s media wing ISPR said in a statement that the army and Frontier Corps troops have been assisting the civil administration in rescue and relief efforts. The NDMA’s weather alert warned of scattered to widespread rain of moderate intensity, with isolated heavy showers, in different parts of the country in the next 24 hours.
Forecasts by the Pakistan Meteorological Department said strong monsoon currents were likely to shift and intensify in upper and central parts of the country.
In this regard, Prime Minister Sharif highlighted the alleged threat posed by climate change, describing it as an “undeniable reality,” and how it has started adversely affecting developing nations such as Pakistan. “Our ongoing floods & torrential rains need to be seen from that angle,” Sharif tweeted, adding that “the government is aligning its development goals with the climate change requirements.”
The south Asian nation witnessed an intense heatwave earlier this year that left several people dead and caused significant material damage.