Pakistan braced for further floods

Posted on 7 Ogos 2010



 Pakistanis hit by devastating floods over the last two weeks are preparing for more misery after heavy rains overnight further swelled rivers and streams. Meteorologists warned on Saturday that the bloated Kabul River would make the situation in the northwest worse in the next 36 hours, while in southern Sindh hundreds of thousands of people were being moved away from the Indus River. An estimated 13 million people have been affected by the worst flooding in Pakistan since 1929, with more than 1,600 people killed, mainly in the northwest. The United Nations has said that the disaster is “on a par” with the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, which killed about 73,000 people, in terms of the number of people needing assistance and damage to infrastructure. Swollen rivers are carrying a huge volume of water south, raising fears that further destruction lies ahead. One million people are in the process of evacuating from Sindh province. Flood warnings Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from the southern coastal city Karachi, said “we are seeing a number of preparations being made across Sindh province”. “So far 500,000 people have been evacuated. Nearly 250,000 homes have been destroyed across the provinces bordering Sindh. in depth Blogs: A natural, political crisis Swat is bent and broken Water, water all around but not a drop to drink Videos: Pakistanis ‘left with nothing’ Anger over flood response Pakistan’s worst floods Inside Story: Pakistan’s devastating floods In pictures: Pakistan plagued by floods “The floods are coming further south. Nobody knows whether the floodwaters will reach Karachi, but severe flood warnings have been issued.” Mohammad Bakhsh, a resident of Qasim Ghot village in Sindh province, said at least 20 children from his family have been stranded in the village, holding on to tree branches for survival. “We are begging the authorities to rescue them,” Bakhsh said. “Two of my children have drowned and we don’t know where they are,” he said, adding that his cattle died and the cotton crop was destroyed. Authorities worry that Pakistan, a nation heavily dependent on agriculture, could face a food crisis and economic calamity as crops and infrastructure have been swept away. In many areas, drinking water wells are also full of mud. In Pakistan’s northwest and the Punjab, 12 million have been displaced, Amal Masud, an official with the National Disaster Management Authority said. “Things are getting worse. It’s raining again. That’s hampering our relief work,” Jamal said. The Pakistani government has come under under fire over its response to the crisis and the prime minister has called for unity to help the flood victims. “The next two days are very critical in this regard,” Yousuf Reza Gilani said. “Our top priority is to rescue people, to save their lives. But we will also provide them all facilities, and we will work for their rehabilitation.” ‘Lack of investment’ Omar Waraich, Pakistan correspondent for the Independent newspaper in the UK, told Al Jazeera: “At this moment, a civilian government is going through hard-times.” But he said that the many of the problems were down to years of lack of investment under previous military governments. “When the military had power infastructure was not built … [the] greatest failures [have happened under] military rule. “Military dictatorships have run this country for half of its history.” Washington has pledged $35m of aid to Pakistan since flooding began. Australia doubled its aid pledge on Saturday to $4.6m. China and other countries have also contributed significantly.

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