Pakistan faces worst monsoon crisis in 80 years

By staff writers
August 3, 2010

The latest estimates are that around 1,500 people have been killed in Pakistan by landslides and floods caused by the most intense monsoon rains in years in the regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir.

Aid agencies say that entire villages have been washed away as the region faces its worst flooding for 80 years.

According to UNICEF, 3 million people have been affected and over 1,400 have been killed. Other estimates say 27,000 people are still trapped.

According to the Pakistani meteorological service, some 312 mm of rain has fallen in the past 36 hours and the waters are rising. Some villages have been submerged in mud.

In the Swat valley, where thousands are still rebuilding after a major military operation against Taliban rebels during 2009, the flooding has brought down bridges and left communities cut off.

Damage to the infrastructure and economy of the region and the country has not yet been quantified.

The bad weather is making it difficult to carry out rescue operations, say agencies. Many of those driven from their homes have found shelter in schools and other public buildings.

Pictures taken from helicopters show thousands of people walking along flooded roads. In the Swat Valley, the first cases of cholera have already been noted.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has expressed his condolences to the population and has promised both short and longer term humanitarian aid for the area.

The UK headquartered international development agency Christian Aid has released £50,000 to help ACT Alliance partners respond to the crisis. The Alliance is a global network of church NGOs.

ACT Alliance staff are currently visiting the affected areas to identify the most urgent needs so that they can begin distribution of food, water, tents, kitchen kits, hygiene kits, mosquito nets and emergency medical care.

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