Rescue, Relief Operations Intensified Amid Fresh Flooding Fears

Rescue and relief operations are under way across Pakistan, as millions of people, particularly in the country’s southern and northwest regions, remained trapped by the worst floods in the South Asian country’s history.

Makeshift relief camps have sprung up all over Pakistan, in schools, on motorways and in military bases in the wake of the monsoon floods.

Farzana, a resident of Ghulam Shah village in Sindh, one of the worst-affected provinces in the country’s south, said she could no longer provide “shade for our children from the sun” as their homes had been totally submerged.

“I swear to God, there is nothing left. All our belongings have been washed away. We’re poor. Our children are sick. They are just sitting there,” she told Al Jazeera. “We appeal to the government to help end our miseries at the soonest,” said Mohammad Safar, 38, outside his submerged home in Shikarpur in Sindh.

“The water must be drained out from here immediately so we can go back to our homes.”

On Thursday, parts of the Sindh province braced for more flooding as a surge of water flowed down the Indus river, compounding the devastation in a country a third of which is already inundated by the climate change induced disaster.

The United Nations has appealed for $160 million to help with what it has called an “unprecedented climate catastrophe.”

“We’re on a high alert as water arriving downstream from northern flooding is expected to enter the province over the next few days,” the spokesman of the Sindh provincial government, Murtaza Wahab, told Reuters. Wahab said a flow of some 600,000 cubic feet per second was expected to swell the Indus, testing its flood defences.

Pakistan has received nearly 190% more rain than the 30-year average in the quarter from June to August, totalling 390.7mm (15.38 inches).

The World Food Programme (WFP) is stepping up its support to the Pakistani government’s relief effort – filling key gaps in delivering assistance to devastated communities, and reinforcing longer-term resilience-building that will become ever more vital with climate change. “We’re really working as a team here,” says Chris Kaye, WFP Country Director and Representative in Pakistan. “We’ve built a very strong relationship with the Government,” he says. “The government is stepping up and taking leadership.”

Supporting the government-led recovery “will become ever more important two or three months from now, as we try to help people rebuild their lives and livelihoods,” says Kaye.

‘US assures continued support’

The United States has assured its continued support to the flood victims of Pakistan. The assurance was given by US Ambassador Donald Blome while talking to Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal in Islamabad today.

The US Ambassador expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives due to rain and flood and showed solidarity with people of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, the Planning Minister apprised the US Ambassador about the rescue and relief activities in the flood-hit areas. He said restoration of infrastructure is a big challenge at the moment.

Ahsan Iqbal further said that rescue and relief operations are continuing and the government is making all out efforts to ensure social protection of the affected people through Benazir Income Support Programme and other sources.

‘Rescue work in flood hit areas’

The rescue and rehabilitation of the people trapped in the flood waters continued on Thursday by the Pakistan Army and the Navy personnel assigned at the embankment in district Dadu.

According to hand out issued by Sindh Information Department, the in-charge of the rescue team of the Pakistan Army informed that the evacuation of the people trapped in the flood was underway and affected people are being rescued with the help of 4 boats.

He said that the rescue work will continue until the last person trapped in the water is shifted to a safe place.

The victims of village Danai Chandio, who reached a safe place from the flood water, thanked the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy and the civil administration.

The flood victims said that the people of their village were trapped in the flood water and were rescued by the army personnel and the civil administration.

At the rescue site, the doctors of the health department are providing treatment facilities to the victims and as many as 300 patients are being checked up on daily basis.

Apart from the flood affectees, their livestock animals are also being treated.

‘River Indus continues to run in high flood’

The Federal Flood Commission (FFC) has said that River Indus was flowing in “high flood” in Taunsa–Guddu-Sukkur Reaches with “medium flood” at Kotri.

According to daily FFC report on Thursday, it was flowing in “Low Flood” at its upstream location (i.e. at Chashma) and under Normal Flow Conditions at Tarbela & Kalabagh.

Currently, River Kabul is flowing in “Low Flood” (77,000 cusecs) at Nowshera and in Normal Flow Condition at Warsak (upstream Nowshera).

Other main Rivers of Indus River System i.e Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej continues to flow in normal flow conditions.

Yesterday’s trough of Westerly Wave over Northern parts of Pakistan has moved away eastwards whereas Weak Seasonal Low lies over Northeastern Balochistan and adjoining areas.

At present, weak moist currents from Arabian Sea are penetrating into central parts of Pakistan upto 3000 feet.

Mainly dry weather has been predicted by FFD, Lahore over most parts of the country; however isolated thunderstorm/rain is expected over the upper catchments of all the Major Rivers.

According to FFD, Lahore, scattered thunderstorm /rain with isolated heavy falls is expected over upper catchments of all the Major Rivers from September 4-6. For the same period, medium to high level flood is likely to continue in River Indus (downstream Chashma).

After causing huge damage in several parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces, the flood water yesterday entered Sindh cities sweeping away homes, businesses, infrastructure and roads and damaging standing and stored crops.

Some parts of the province look like an inland sea with only occasional patches of trees or raised roads breaking the surface of the murky flood waters.

Hundreds of families have taken refuge on roads, the only dry land in sight for many of them while on the other hand, the rescue and relief operations in progress in Sindh’s flood-hit Dadu district, with water up to “eight to nine feet” high in several areas.

The government data shows that 33 million people have been affected with the flash floods.

In Dadu district, parts of which have been inundated due to waters coming in from the north, Khairpur Nathan Shah has been the hardest hit so far.

According to Dadu District Commissioner Murtaza Ali, the flood water is standing eight to nine foot high in Khairpur Nathan Shah city.

He added that the military and paramilitary Rangers were assisting relief efforts.

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