Fears of more flooding as Pakistan death toll crosses 1,400
People displaced by the devastating flooding complain that they are without food and ration as authorities struggle to cope with the disaster.
Islamabad, Pakistan – The death toll from the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan has crossed 1,400, as forecast of more rains in parts of the worst-affected southern Sindh province are causing fears of more flooding.
Authorities are scrambling to evacuate people from the flooded areas of Sindh as meteorological department said moderate to heavy rainfall are expected in multiple districts of the province in the next 24 to 72 hours. At least 638 people have died in the province, including 274 children.
A key power plant in Sindh’s Dadu district, about 335km (about 200 miles) north of the provincial capital Karachi, which supplies power to millions faces a growing threat of flooding, authorities said.
About a third of Pakistan is submerged by melting glaciers and record monsoon rains that began in June, affecting more than 33 million people. The government revised its initial estimate of losses from the devastating flooding from $10bn to $30bn last week.
Close to a million people have been rendered homeless, many of them sleeping in the open on highways and higher planes.
‘Situation here is very bad’
Nadir Hussain Chandio, a 34-year-old journalist, has found shelter at a school building in Mehar city in Sindh, 25km (15.5 miles) from his village Syedpur. He managed to leave the village on foot along with his family of 10 and neighbours from the village.
“Situation here is very bad. Even though we are in city, we do not have food or rations. Thankfully, we have some shelter under the building, but many of our family members are still stuck in the village as roads are damaged or submerged in water. They need help,” he told Al Jazeera by phone.
Chandio said it took him and his family more than three hours to walk the distance from his village to Mehar city in Dadu district.
“We somehow managed to reach the school but we were told that even the city might be at risk of flooding. We decided we will stay here, no matter what,” he added.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who visited the flood-ravaged South Asian nation, said he has “never seen climate carnage” on such a scale.
“I have seen many humanitarian disasters in the world, but I have never seen climate carnage on this scale. I have simply no words to describe what I have seen today,” Guterres said on Saturday, after his visit to affected areas.
The UN has already launched an urgent appeal to raise $160m to help Pakistan, while several countries and global institutions have pledged support to Pakistan.
Officials have said more than 50 special flights carrying aid have arrived in the country and more are scheduled in the coming days.
No test kit for malaria
Many flood victims complain they have not been provided any kind of aid and are unsure of what the future holds for them as authorities have been overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, being dubbed the country’s worst.
The floods have also damaged more than 1,460 health facilities in the country, and World Health Organization has said there are continuing outbreaks of various water-borne diseases, as well as the threat of increased malaria transmission among the stranded population.
Chandio, the local journalist, told Al Jazeera that his 10-year-old daughter Suhana is down with fever for the last two days but there is no way to find out if she is suffering from malaria or not.
“A mobile health camp visited us yesterday, but they had no way to test for malaria. They just gave some tablet and syrup, but her fever has not subsided,” he said.
Shah Zaman Malkani, a government official in Dadu district, admitted there are many people who have not received any aid.
“We need medicines, we need medical supplies urgently,” he told Al Jazeera by phone.
“We have a huge challenge at hand,” he said, adding that more than “90 percent of the district is flooded.”
But for Chandio and his family, the future looks quite uncertain.
“We are told it will take at least two to three months before water drains. We don’t know how can we go back, or when will we go back. We are just relying on God. There’s nothing else to do,” he told Al Jazeera.