Pakistan: heavy monsoon leaves people dead, stranded

Friday, July 30, 2010

An unusually strong and widespread monsoon in Pakistan has left people dead and thousands stranded by floods. Further torrential rain is forecast over the coming days.

The BBC reports that airline officials said the weather was likely to have contributed to a plane crash in Islamabad on Wednesday in which more than 150 people died.

Since July 21, heavy rains have pounded most parts of Pakistan, with worst-affected areas being part of all of the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa (formerly North West Frontier Province) and Balochistan.

Around 150 people have been killed by landslides, flooding, electrocution and other weather-related incidents. Livestock have been lost and agricultural crops and fields have been damaged or destroyed.

Hundreds of houses have been destroyed and many roads made impassable due to flooding and landslides, including most land routes linking flood-affected regions, leaving thousands of local residents marooned or displaced.

ACT members are assessing people’s need for food, water, tents, kitchen kits, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and emergency medical care.

The Pakistan army and district authorities have started evacuating people from heavily-flooded areas. The government has also started distributing food, however the magnitude of the disaster will be beyond the capacity of the government alone.

In response to the crisis and in preparation for the potential massive evacuation and relocation of residents, several international and national aid organisations have prepared contingency plans and started providing assistance.

Members of the ACT Pakistan Forum are coordinating their responses with each other, with national and provincial authorities and with local partners. ACT has issued an alert on the situation. An appeal will be issued early next week.