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“This is a humanitarian disaster and needs to be addressed immediately,”: Sherry  

Irshad Ali

ISLAMABAD, AUG 23 /DNA/ – Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman, during her remarks in the briefing on current flood emergency in Pakistan by NDMA, stressed the need for immediate humanitarian and rescue efforts to rehabilitate the aggrieved and flood-hit populations throughout the country. This was an urgent meeting called to reassess damage done by recurring and unprecedented floods and to apprise development partners and donors of the criticality of the crisis.  

Calling attention to the current climate crisis in the country, Minister Rehman said, “Right now we are in 7th spell of a torrential monsoon that has left thousands homeless, 830 dead and 1348 injured. From Balochistan, the monsoon system has moved to Sindh where 30 districts are under water. The magnitude of it can be assessed from the fact that it has rained more than 395% in Sindh and 379% in Balochistan above the average rainfall. It is a climate catastrophe of epic scale, bringing in its wake the humanitarian crisis that could well match the magnitude of the big flood that was witnessed in 2010. At this point both sides of the Indus are flooded in Sindh which is the current epicentre of the calamity. Shelter is dangerously impacted in the 30 districts of Sindh, and even in Balochistan, and now the same kind of speed and velocity of water is being experienced in South Punjab. People are adrift, livestock and crops are damaged. It is a humanitarian disaster of unprecedented monsoon proportions..”

Further apprising on the situation in Sindh, she highlighted, “The torrential rains have been unprecedented in Sindh right now, Balochistan, DG Khan too are at risk. Given the scale of the disaster there is no question of the provinces or even Islamabad being able to cope with this magnitude of climate catastrophe on their own. Lives are at risk,thousands homeless. It is important that international partners mobilise assistance. The Indus is in high floods where flow of over 600,000 cusecs is expected to cross Guddu and then Sukkur Barrages on 23rd and 24th of August, 2022 which will bring all the Katcha area along Indus under water, displacing thousands of families. This is in addition to the current displacement. In terms of precious human lives, 216 lives have been lost to the floods in Sindh. An estimated 1,500,000 katcha houses have been damaged and crops cultivated on 1,989,868 acres have been completely destroyed in Sindh. And with the new monsoon spell setting in, other areas in the country, especially DG Khan will remain vulnerable to hill torrents.”   

Stressing the need for urgent and immediate relief measures, Minister Rehman said, “The current climate catastrophe needs immediate International and national mobilization of humanitarian efforts, not just in the form of food, shelter and basic survival amenities but we need to amplify our rescue efforts. The NDMA, Pakistan Army, along with the provincial governments are tirelessly involved in dealing with this climate crisis. But lack of resources is a huge challenge. It is important to coordinate needs of calamity hit areas and triangulate with development partners and donors. A concerted and well-coordinated effort is required to deal with this climate emergency that our country faces at present.”

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