| 9 December 2023, Saturday |

Flash floods kill 550 in Pakistan in heaviest rains in decades

In Pakistan over the past month, flash floods brought on by unusually strong monsoon rains have claimed the lives of at least 549 people, with rural towns in the underdeveloped southern region of Balochistan among the hardest impacted, according to a government agency.

In flood-affected areas, the army and government organizations have established camps to give food, medication, and assistance with family relocation.

Aside from the fatalities, the flooding had damaged more than 46,200 houses, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Friday.

“We’re doing our best to provide for extensive relief and rehabilitation of flood victims,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said during visit to stricken areas.

But the Balochistan provincial government said it needed more funds and appealed to international organizations for assistance.

“Our losses are massive,” the province’s Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bezenjo said. There were food shortages in every district hit by the flooding, with some also disconnected from the rest of the province due to more than 700 kilometres of roads being washed away.

Bezenjo said his province needed “huge assistance” from the government and from international aid agencies.

The past month was the wettest in three decades, with 133% more rain than the average for the past 30 years, the NDMA said. Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, received 305% more rain than the annual average, the disaster agency said.

  • Reuters