Pakistan has issued an appeal to the international community for “massive humanitarian assistance” in the wake of devastating flooding that has killed at least 1,265 people.
Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal called for “massive humanitarian assistance for the 33 million people” affected by the monsoon rains that caused the floods.
The request came as planes were delivering supplies to a poor country via a humanitarian air bridge.
International attention to the plight of Pakistan has risen as the number of deaths and homelessness has risen. Initial government estimates put the damage from rain and flooding at $10 billion.
“The scale of destruction is enormous and requires huge humanitarian assistance for 33 million people. To do this, I appeal to my fellow Pakistanis, Pakistani expatriates and the international community to help Pakistan in this difficult hour,” he said at a press conference on Saturday.
Many officials and experts have blamed climate change for unusual monsoon rains and floods, including United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who earlier this week urged the world to stop sleepwalking during a deadly crisis. He will visit Pakistan on September 9 to tour flood-affected areas and meet with officials.
Earlier this week, the UN and Pakistan launched a joint appeal for $160 million in emergency funding to help the millions affected by the floods, which damaged more than a million homes.
Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) counted 57 more deaths in flood-affected areas in its latest report Saturday. This brings the total death toll since the start of the monsoon rains in mid-June to 1,265, including 441 children.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s earlier call for help received a quick response from the international community, which sent planes carrying humanitarian aid.
A French plane carrying humanitarian aid landed in Islamabad on Saturday and was received by National Health Service Minister Abdul Qadeer Patel.
The arrival of this French aircraft followed the ninth flight from the United Arab Emirates and the first from Uzbekistan. These flights were the last to land in Islamabad at night.
Patel said the humanitarian aid sent by France included medicine and large sump pumps to lower the water level. He said that France also sent a team of doctors and experts.
Pakistan has set up a National Flood Response and Coordination Center to distribute incoming aid to the affected population. Iqbal runs the army center.
The Minister said that this monsoon rains hit most parts of Balochistan and Sindh provinces, as well as parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. The territory of Gilgit-Baltistan also suffered. The heavy rains and subsequent flash floods caused massive damage to infrastructure, roads, electricity and communications networks.
Iqbal said the government is working to get the country back to normal as soon as possible, but the Pakistani government cannot do it alone.
Major General Zafar Iqbal, head of the flood response center, said at a press conference that 29 humanitarian aid planes from Turkey, the UAE, China, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Turkmenistan and other countries have arrived in Pakistan over the past four days. countries.
The military spokesman, Major General Iftikhar Babar, said that rescuers, with the support of the military, continue rescue and relief operations. According to him, the army aviation, air force and navy used boats and helicopters to evacuate people from remote areas and deliver aid.
Babar said the army has set up 147 relief camps that have provided shelter and food for more than 50,000 displaced people, while 250 medical camps have already treated 83,000 people.
Health officials expressed concern about the spread of waterborne diseases among displaced people living in relief camps and in tents along the roads.
The head of the NDMA, Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz, said areas of the country expected to receive 15 to 20 percent more rain this year actually received more than 400 percent more. Combined, the country received 190 percent more rainfall this rainy season.
US Central Command said it would send an assessment team to Islamabad to see what support it could provide. Earlier this week, the United States announced $30 million in flood relief.
Two members of Congress, Sheila Jackson and Tom Susie, were expected to travel to Pakistan on Sunday to visit flood-affected areas and meet with officials.