Pakistan floods: Appeals for aid as 119 more die in a day

Pakistan is appealing for further international assistance as floods devastate the country, leaving people searching for higher, drier ground.

The death toll from the monsoon rains has reached 1,033 – with 119 killed in the last 24 hours, the National Disaster Management Authority says.

The US, UK, UAE and others have contributed to a disaster appeal, but more funds are needed, officials say.

One man told the BBC his daughter had been swept away by a flooded river.

“She told me: ‘Daddy, I’m going to collect leaves for my goat,’” Muhammad Fareed, who lives in the Kaghan Valley in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said.

“She went to the bank of the river and a gush of water followed and took her away.”

Muhammad Fareed, whose daughter died in the Kunhar river

An aide to Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif told the BBC the country was desperate for international support.

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

Funding from a lot of development projects had been rerouted to the affected people, he added.

According to reports by the Dawn newspaper, Prime Minister Sharif has announced a grant of 10bn rupees ($45m) for those in the most affected Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Every flood-affected family would be given 25,000 rupees ($112), Mr Sharif said, which would be disbursed within a week.

In the north-west of the country, thousands of people fled their homes after rivers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 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 the 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.

Flood victims queue up outside a bank to receive financial assistance in southern Sindh province

‘No food has come here’

Pumza Fihlani, BBC News, Sindh

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 miles 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.”

Mr 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 exacerbated the impact in the past, with buildings often erected in areas prone to seasonal flooding.

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