Army helicopters flew sorties over cut-off areas in Pakistan’s mountainous north on Wednesday (Aug 31) and rescue parties fanned out across waterlogged plains in the south as misery mounted for millions trapped by the worst floods in the country’s history.
Monsoon rains have submerged a third of Pakistan, claiming at least 1,190 lives since June and unleashing powerful floods that have washed away swathes of vital crops and damaged or destroyed more than a million homes.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called it “a monsoon on steroids” as he launched an international appeal late on Tuesday for US$160 million in emergency funding.
The World Health Organization announced a Grade 3 emergency for the Pakistan floods – its highest level.
Officials say more than 33 million people are affected – one in every seven Pakistanis – and it will cost more than US$10 billion to rebuild.
The focus for now, however, is reaching tens of thousands still stranded on hills and in valleys in the north, as well as remote villages in the south and west.
“We appeal to the government to help end our miseries at the soonest,” said Mohammad Safar, 38, outside his submerged home in Shikarpur in the southeastern province of Sindh on Wednesday.