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regular-article-logo Thursday, 20 June 2024

Pakistan floods: International aid arrives as death toll tops 1,200

The crisis could aggravate food insecurity in neighboring Afghanistan, says UN agency

Deutsche Welle Published 02.09.22, 11:04 PM
Floods have killed over 1,200 people in Pakistan and destroyed nearly half of agricultural land

Floods have killed over 1,200 people in Pakistan and destroyed nearly half of agricultural land Deutsche Welle

International flights carrying fresh supplies have been arriving in Pakistan as the death toll from floods passed 1,200, officials said on Friday.

The crisis in Pakistan, which has been a vital transit location for food aid earmarked for Kabul, is also expected to aggravate food insecurity in neighboring Afghanistan, the UN Food Program said.

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Evacuations in Pakistan's south have also been underway as the province of Sindh braces for continued flooding.

Where is the aid coming from?

So far, Pakistan has received aid from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates and a number of other countries.

The ninth flight from the United Arab Emirates and the first from Uzbekistan were the latest to land in Islamabad overnight. Two more planes from the UAE and Qatar will arrive in Pakistan later on Friday.

Also on its way was a Turkish train carrying relief goods for flood victims, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said. A Turkish delegation led by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad to express its condolences.

This week, the United States announced it would provide $30 million (€29.9 million) worth of aid for flood victims.

UN: Floods could aggravate Afghanistan food crisis

The United Nations warned that Pakistan's floods could put significant pressure on efforts to get food into neighboring Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has been grappling with a major food crisis since the Taliban takeover last year, when billions of dollars in assets were frozen and foreign aid dried up. Earlier this month, the UN's World Food Program (WFP) said that around half of the country's population, or 20 million people, required urgent food aid.

The WFP said on Friday that much of the food aid earmarked for Afghanistan transited through Pakistan by road.

"Pakistan provides a vital supply route into Afghanistan," WFP Pakistan director Chris Kaye told reporters in Geneva.

"With roads that have been washed away, that presents us with a major logistical challenge."

He said that Pakistan's food situation was "grave" even before the floods, with 43% of the population food insecure.

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that around 45% of Pakistan's agricultural land had been destroyed in the floods.

Evacuations ongoing, Sindh braces for more flooding

Pakistani officials said that millions of people were being evacuated from the south of the country as it braced for continued flooding.

Thousands of troops, rescuers and volunteers were using boats and helicopters in rescue operations in the southeastern province of Sindh. The province, which contains most of the Indus River Delta, was the hardest hit by the floods.

Pakistan's disaster management agency said that around 20,000 cubic meters of water is flowing downstream and will shortly reach major Sindhi cities.

Pakistan's armed forces said they had rescued a further 2,000 people stranded by rising floodwaters.

The military said it had rescued about 50,000 people, including 1,000 by air, since rescue efforts began.

UN children's agency UNICEF warned that many children could die from disease following the floods.

"There is now a high risk of water-borne, deadly diseases spreading rapidly — diarrhea, cholera, dengue, malaria," UNICEF Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil told reporters in Geneva. "There is therefore a risk of many more child deaths."

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