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Pakistan appeals to world for flood help amid devastation

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Pakistan is appealing for further international assistance after floods wreaked havoc across the country.

The US, UK, United Arab Emirates and others have contributed to a monsoon disaster appeal but more funds are needed, an interior ministry official told the BBC.

More than 1,000 people have died and millions have been displaced since June, Salman Sufi said.

He said Pakistan’s government was doing everything in its power to help people.
In the north-west of the country, thousands of people fled their homes after rivers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province burst their banks, causing powerful flash floods.

“The house which we built with years of hard work started sinking in front of our eyes,” Junaid Khan, 23, told AFP news agency. “We sat on the side of the road and watched our dream house sinking.”

The province of Sindh in the south-east of the country has also been badly affected, with thousands displaced from their homes.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Sufi said the country was in desperate need of more international support.

“Pakistan has been grappling with economic issues but now just when we were about to overcome them the monsoon disaster hit,” he said.

Funding from a lot of development projects had been rerouted to the affected people, he added.
There were displaced people in all of the villages we drove through across Sindh.

The full scale of the devastation in the province is yet to be fully understood, but on the ground the people describe it as the worst disaster they’ve survived.

Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan but the people here tell us these rains were different. They were more than anything that’s ever been seen here. One local official described them as “floods of biblical proportions”.

Near the city of Larkana, thousands of mud homes have sunk under water, and for kilometres all that’s visible is treetops.

Where the water level is slightly lower, thatched roofs creep out from underneath the menacing water.

The needs of the survivors are varied. In one village we visit, the people sat there are desperate for food. In another they say they’ve got their grains, but they need money to meet their other needs.

We visit one where many children have developed waterborne diseases. A mobile truck pulls over and scores immediately run towards it. Children carrying other children make their way to the long queue.

One 12-year-old girl says she and her baby sister have not eaten in a day. “No food has come here. But my sister is sick, she has been vomiting, I hope they can help.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said 33 million people had been hit by the floods – about 15% of the country’s population.

He said the losses caused by floods this season were comparable to those during the floods of 2010-11, said to be the worst on record.

Officials in the country blame climate change for the devastation.

But poor local government planning has also been cited as a factor that has exacerbated flooding situations in the past, with buildings often erected in areas prone to seasonal flooding.
(BBC)

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