Unprecedented heavy rains and hill torrents have created the first-ever serious humanitarian crisis in Sindh as 10.48 million people have been affected, of whom 600,000 shifted to relief camps.
This was said by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday as he met an American delegation led by Counselor of the United States Department of State Derek Chollet. The meeting was held at the CM House and attended by provincial ministers and Pakistan Peoples Party leaders Sharjeel Inam Memon, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Murtaza Wahab and Saeed Ghani.
Sindh Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput was also present at the meeting. The CM told the US delegation that normally the province received 60mm of rain in July, but this year, it received 245 mm of rain, which was 307 per cent more than the normal rainfall. “In August, against the normal 57mm of rain, we received 344 mm of rain, which means 517 per cent more,” he said and added that the highest precipitation of 1,764 mm was recorded at the Padidan area of district Naushehro Feroze.
Of the 140,914 square kilometres area of the province, 21,691.7 square kilometres were inundated, Murad explained. Talking about the flood-related losses, he said that over 600 people had died and 9,000 had been injured. A total of 118,828 cattle had perished and 10.48 million population had been affected, of whom 6.28 million people displaced, he explained.
The CM told the foreign delegation that 1.54 million houses and 3.27 million acres of crops in the province had been damaged. The US counselor offered his condolences to the families who had lost their loved ones in the devastating floods. He also affirmed that the United States would remain steadfast in its support for the affected communities in Pakistan.
Chollet said the US was closely following the flood situation in Sindh and other parts of the country. “We have committed $30 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to support the people and communities that have been affected by the severe flooding in the country,” he said and added that it was in addition to the $1.1 million in grant support to ensure direct assistance to help mitigate and prevent the effects of future floods caused by climate change.
The US counselor explained that the overall US grants came to $53.1 million for Pakistan. The CM thanked the delegation on behalf of the people of Sindh and entire country for timely support from the people of the US in the testing times.
The US delegation also attended an event held at the Jamia Islamia Clifton on Friday to provide help to the flood victims.
Addressing the event, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation Administrator Murtaza Wahab said houses of 30 million people in Sindh had been destroyed in the floods.
"Sindh province has been badly affected this time due to unusual and unexpected rains. The worst flood in history has caused widespread destruction in 24 districts of the province. The houses of 30 million people have collapsed,” he said, adding that the government would have to rebuild all those houses.
Head of the Jamia Islamia Clifton Mufti Abu Bakr Muhyiddin, Cardinal Joseph Coutts and religious leaders representing various faiths were also present on the occasion.
Wahab said that as a result of the floods, agriculture, which was the main source of employment in rural areas, had been completely destroyed and people had lost their livelihoods.
He said the current situation demanded the rehabilitation of the affected people as soon as possible for which the provincial government had been taking all possible steps.
The KMC administrator appreciated the efforts of organisations that had been collecting funds to help the flood victims. "Various institutions and organisations are actively participating in the flood relief work. Our morale is also increasing and the spirit of work has been awakened,” he said, adding that it was a good sign for national unity and solidarity.
Chollet expressed concern over the flood situation in Pakistan and said that the US was with Pakistan in the time of trouble. "Pakistan is facing devastating floods due to rains. The US is standing with Pakistan in this difficult time. The US government is providing a total of 31 million US dollars in aid to Pakistan," he remarked.
The US counselor said the US and Pakistan had 75 years of relations. He added that he had also discussed the economic situation of Pakistan in a meeting with the prime minister.
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