ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s armed forces have rescued a further 2,000 people stranded by rising floodwaters, they said on Friday (Sep 2), in a disaster blamed on climate change that has swamped about a third of the South Asian nation and is still growing.
Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains brought floods that have killed at least 1,208 people, including 416 children, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has said.
The United Nations has appealed for US$160 million in aid to help tackle what it said was an “unprecedented climate catastrophe” as Pakistan’s navy has fanned out inland to carry out relief operations in areas that resemble a sea.
The UN children’s agency UNICEF said on Friday many more children could die from disease.
“There is now a high risk of water-borne, deadly diseases spreading rapidly — diarrhoea, cholera, dengue, malaria,” UNICEF Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil told a Geneva press briefing. “There is therefore a risk of many more child deaths,” he said.
In the Dadu district of Sindh, one of the worst-affected provinces, several villages were under as much as 3.35m of water, according to Bashir Khan, a local resident who is in contact with people remaining in the area.
“My house is under water, I had left my place four days ago with my family,” he told Reuters.
In neighbouring Mehar, residents were constructing a dike in an attempt to prevent floodwaters from entering the town, he said.
The navy airlifted more than 150 people from villages in Dadu on Thursday, it said in a statement.
On Friday, the military said it had evacuated about 50,000 people, including 1,000 by air, since rescue efforts began.
“During the last 24 hours, 1,991 stranded individuals have been evacuated,” the armed forces said in a statement, adding that nearly 163 tonnes of relief supplies had also been delivered to the flood-affected.