Pakistan Flooding Deaths Pass 1,000 In ‘Climate Catastrophe’

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Deaths from widespread flooding in Pakistan topped 1,000 since mid-June, officers stated Sunday, because the nation’s local weather minister referred to as the lethal monsoon season “a serious climate catastrophe.”

Flash flooding from the heavy rains has washed away villages and crops as troopers and rescue staff evacuated stranded residents to the protection of aid camps and supplied meals to 1000’s of displaced Pakistanis.

Pakistan’s Nationwide Catastrophe Administration Authority reported the dying toll for the reason that monsoon season started sooner than regular this yr — in mid- June — reached 1,033 individuals after new fatalities have been reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southern Sindh provinces.

Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani senator and the nation’s prime local weather official, stated in a video posted on Twitter that Pakistan is experiencing a “serious climate catastrophe, one of the hardest in the decade.”

“We are at the moment at the ground zero of the front line of extreme weather events, in an unrelenting cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events and now the monster monsoon of the decade is wreaking non-stop havoc throughout the country,” she said. The on-camera statement was retweeted by the country’s ambassador to the European Union.

Flooding from the Swat River overnight affected northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where tens of thousands of people — especially in the Charsadda and Nowshehra districts — have been evacuated from their homes to relief camps set up in government buildings. Many have also taken shelter on roadsides, said Kamran Bangash, a spokesperson for the provincial government.

Bangash said some 180,000 people have been evacuated from Charsadda and 150,000 from Nowshehra district villages.

Khaista Rehman, 55, no relation to the climate minister, took shelter with his wife and three children on the side of the Islamabad-Peshawar highway after his home in Charsadda was submerged overnight.

“Thank God we are safe now on this road quite high from the flooded area,” he said. “Our crops are gone and our home is destroyed but I am grateful to Allah that we are alive and I will restart life with my sons.”

The unprecedented monsoon season has affected all four of the country’s provinces. Nearly 300,000 homes have been destroyed, numerous roads rendered impassable and electricity outages have been widespread, affecting millions of people.

Pope Francis on Sunday said he wanted to assure his “closeness to the populations of Pakistan struck by flooding of disastrous proportions.’’ Speaking during a pilgrimage to the Italian town of L’Aquila, which was hit by a deadly earthquake in 2009, Francis said he was praying “for the many victims, for the injured and the evacuated, and so that international solidarity will be prompt and generous.”

Rehman told Turkish news outlet TRT World that by the time the rains recede, “we might effectively have one fourth or one third of Pakistan below water.”

“This is something that is a global crisis and of course we will need better planning and sustainable development on the ground. … We’ll need to have climate resilient crops as well as structures,” she stated.

In Might, Rehman informed BBC Newshour that each the nation’s north and south have been witnessing excessive climate occasions due to rising temperatures. “So in north truly simply now we’re … experiencing what is called glacial lake outburst floods which we’ve got lots of as a result of Pakistan is house to the best variety of glaciers outdoors the polar area.”

The government has deployed soldiers to help civilian authorities in rescue and relief operations across the country. The Pakistani army also said in a statement it airlifted a 22 tourists trapped in a valley in the country’s north to safety.

Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif visited flooding victims in city of Jafferabad in Baluchistan. He vowed the government would provide housing to all those who lost their homes.

Related Press writers Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Asim Tanveer in Multan, Pakistan, and Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed.