Queen ‘deeply saddened’ after more than 1,000 deaths in Pakistan floods

Queen ‘deeply saddened’ after more than 1,000 deaths in Pakistan floods

The Queen has said she is “deeply saddened” by widespread flooding that has claimed more than 1,000 lives in Pakistan this summer.

The country has seen exceptionally heavy monsoon rains which have triggered flash floods, affecting 33 million people and damaging nearly one million homes.

The death toll is reported to be at least 1,061 people.

In a message to the country’s president, Arif Alvi, the Queen said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life and destruction caused by the floods across Pakistan.

“My thoughts are with all those who have been affected, as well as those working in difficult circumstances to support the recovery efforts.

“The United Kingdom stands in solidarity with Pakistan as you recover from these terrible events.”

The message, released by Buckingham Palace, was signed “Elizabeth R”.

In a message to the Pakistani government, the Prince of Wales echoed the Queen’s sentiments saying he and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, are also “deeply saddened” by the devastation caused by the floods.

“Our hearts go out to all the victims and their loved ones and to the millions of people who have lost property and their livelihoods,” he said.

“Your country is very special to us, with deep and enduring bonds to the United Kingdom. We would like to pay a particular tribute to the government of Pakistan, the military and emergency services, the countless volunteers and aid agencies who are working tirelessly to save lives and support those in need.

“Times like these remind us of the fragility of our planet and the urgent need for humanity to live in harmony with nature. Our prayers are with all our friends in Pakistan.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

A spokesman said Charles will be donating a “substantial sum” to international aid charity Islamic Relief in support of their work to help those affected by the disaster.

Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK said: “His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales has shown great compassion and kindness by helping the people of Pakistan and we are extremely grateful and thankful to him for this beautiful gesture.

“This will make a huge difference to those affected.

“Pakistan is currently experiencing one of the worst floods to hit the country and much more support is needed by the international community.

Displaced families wade through flood on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan (AP)
Displaced families wade through flood on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan (AP)

“We urge everyone to take inspiration from HRH The Prince of Wales and do what they can to help those whose lives have been devastated by this disaster.”

Pakistani authorities said the devastation is worse than in 2010 when 1,700 people were killed by floods.

Boris Johnson said the destruction is “heartbreaking”, as he pledged UK support.

The outgoing Prime Minister tweeted: “It’s heartbreaking to see the continuing devastation wrought by the floods in Pakistan.

“My thoughts go to the victims and those helping with an heroic relief effort.

“The United Kingdom is sending support and continues to stand by the people of Pakistan in their hour of need.”

Qamar Javed Bajwa, current Chief of the Army Staff in Pakistan, said on Sunday that the country may take years to recover.

Last week, the United Nations said it had allocated £2.6 million for UN aid agencies and their partners in Pakistan to respond to the floods.

Pakistan’s climate minister, Sherry Rehman, said the country has suffered heavier rains this year mainly because of climate change.

The unprecedented rains have affected all four of the country’s provinces, destroying more than 150 bridges and washing away numerous roads, making rescue operations difficult.

At least 6,500 soldiers have been drafted in to help civilian authorities in rescue and relief operations across the country.

Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif visited a number of flood-damaged areas in the north-west of the country on Monday and has said the government will provide housing for those who have lost their homes.