Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman briefed the media about the ongoing flood situation and its devastating impacts in the country, during a press conference today. She stressed that "Pakistan is facing the worst humanitarian disaster of this decade and it has led to spectacular losses of lives, property and livelihood.”
Talking about the “monster monsoon cycles “ that has taken 913 lives and displaced millions, Minister Rehman stressed the, “Pakistan is going through its 8th cycle of monsoon while normally the country has only 3 to 4 cycles of rain. The percentages of super flood torrents pare shocking. Sindh has received 784% more rainfall than average for the month of August while Balochistan has received 496% more rain than normal. This has resulted in flash floods, ravaging 23 districts of Sindh which have been declared calamity-hit. The Indus is inundated on both its right and left banks . Padidan (Naushero Feroze) has received the highest amount of rainfall of 1187mm only in August. In the history of Pandidan, it received the highest rainfall of 300 mm in August of 1992. So all records of rainfall have been broken. The south of Pakistan is inundated completely as the frequency and magnitude of the flood is unprecedented. We are mobilizing maximum resources for relief, rescue and shelter operations with the provinces, NDMA, PDMA and Pakistan Army working flat out to provide relief to the affected. However we are all painfully aware that there is a distressing gap between resources and rescue operations and the number of people in need of urgent shelter; with 33 million affected we will need international humanitarian assistance to give a modicum of relief and food security for now.
Discussing the ongoing relief operations, Minister Rehman said, “The amount of water on the ground has inundated huge swathes of Pakistan, with 33 million affected, many stranded. The water is not flowing from the north as in 2010, but it is equally or more devastating in its sweep and destructive power. NDMA is conducting needs assessment and we are working to send out UN's flash appeal. Our federal and provincial governments are running out of resources as it is not within the capacity of any province or state to deal with the disaster of such epic proportions alone . We also need communication infrastructural assistance and air support once the weather settles .Transport lines and roads are damaged and submerged, cutting off access to areas. The Prime minister has initiated a relief account where each one of us can contribute, relief mobilisation in kind is also needed. At the same time it is important to stress that the recurrent and frequent spells of monsoon downpours have made it hard to carry out relief operations, especially helicopter sorties. Pakistan is under an unprecedented monsoon spell and data suggests the possibility of re-emergence of another cycle in September.”
Stressing the need for relief from International donors, Minister Rehman said, “The need for shelter and relief is dire as per what the provinces have conveyed to us. But it is still an evolving situation and every day the needs assessments are changing as the rains don’t stop and the water keeps coming. The homeless numbers are growing, with Sindh asking for one million tents and Balochistan 100,000. This is a huge number. All tent manufacturers have been mobilised and external donors asked for tents. Right now, we are apprising international donors of the number of multiple risks we face. We are hopeful that our international development partners and friends will step in to assist in this unprecedented humanitarian crisis. It is beyond the capacity of any federal or provincial government to rehabilitate and manage rescue, relief and shelter, as our resources are limited."
She also said “Pakistan's priority, at the moment, is this climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Political competition should not at this point be anyone’s priority. This is the time to be focused on saving lives. After the relief efforts are complete we must focus on rebuilding with climate resilience in mind."