One-third of Pakistan ‘may be under water’ before deadly floods stop

·2-min read
Displaced families wade through flooding on the outskirts of Peshawar in Pakistan (AP)
Displaced families wade through flooding on the outskirts of Peshawar in Pakistan (AP)

Huge flooding in Pakistan has claimed more than a 1,000 lives as an unprecedented monsoon batters the country.

Officials reported 119 more deaths over the weekend amid flash flooding that has washed away villages and crops and destroyed nearly 300,000 homes. The toll now stands at 1,061.

Sherry Rehman, a senator and the country’s top climate official, described it as a “catastrophe”. She said a third of Pakistan could be under water by the time the rain stops.

Miss Rehman added that the country was in “the front line of extreme weather events, in an unrelenting cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events, and now the monster monsoon of the decade is wreaking non-stop havoc”.

Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif on Monday said the rains are the heaviest Pakistan has seen in three decades.

"I saw floodwater everywhere, wherever I went in recent days and even today," Sharif said.

Some 180,000 people in the town have been evacuated after the Swat River overflowed and swamped nearby communities.

Sharif has said the government would provide housing to all those who lost their homes.

But many of the displaced have lost crops and businesses in addition to homes. "I am sitting with my family in a tent, and how can I go out to work? Even if I go out in search of a job, who will give me any job as there is water everywhere," asked Rehmat Ullah, a flood victim in Charsadda.

Flooding from the Swat River has affected north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where tens of thousands have been evacuated from their homes to relief camps.

Around 180,000 people have been evacuated from the northern city of Charsadda and another 150,000 from Nowshera.

Numerous roads have been left impassable by the torrents and electricity outages have been widespread.