Protests in Pakistan after floods

Villagers complain about lack of aid as rescuers struggle to reach remote areas.

    Millions of people have been affected by flooding
    in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan [AFP]

    "Our homes have been destroyed, there has been no drinking water and no food for the last four days. There is water everywhere," Ghulam Jan, a farmer, said.

    Chest-deep water

    The protesters said they had waded through chest-deep water from outlying areas to voice their anger. Many said the only aid they had received were packets of biscuits and bottles of water.

    "Every family is looking for one or two members.
    They are all missing"


    Chaker Baloth, Turbat protester

    "Every family is looking for one or two members. They are all missing," Chaker Baloth, who walked more than 40km to reach Turbat, said.

    The cyclone battered Baluchistan three days after a storm destroyed Karachi, the nation's biggest city, killing around 230 people.

    Although the rain has stopped in Turbat, helicopters meant to be delivering aid have been grounded because of continuing downpours  elsewhere.


    Khuda Bakhsh Baluch, the relief commissioner for Baluchistan, said on Friday that 1.1 million people were now known to have been affected by the cyclone.

     

    He said around 250,000 of them have been made homeless.

    "The situation is serious, we know that people are suffering," he said. "The more rain that comes, the worse it gets."

     

    Districts submerged



    Floods have submerged four districts and inundated three others causing severe damage to roads, bridges, railway lines and even severed a natural gas pipeline.

    "I don't know if there are more fish or bodies in the Mirani Dam," an official in Turbat said about the vastly expanded lake behind the dam which engulfed many communities about 40km north of the city.


    Police officers fired teargas and bullets
    at angry

    protesters [AFP]

    Baluch said the main problem he faced was getting help to the tens of thousands of people cut off by floods.

     

    "It rained throughout the province last night, but this is the normal monsoon. The worry now is not rain. The main problem is communication," he said.

     

    A fleet of aircraft, including more than a dozen military helicopters and several C-130 cargo aircraft, were called in but the rain hindered their flight.

     

    "We're considering flying C-130s to areas which have airports. We'll dump relief goods and from there they'll be distributed, but many areas don't have airports," Baluch said.

     

    Across the border in Afghanistan, heavy rain caused widespread flooding that has killed more than 40 people, destroyed roads and damaged homes and irrigation systems.

    "More than 2,000 people are homeless here. The flooding is over but people are in a very bad condition and people need more aid," Shalizai Didar, the governor of eastern Kunar province bordering Pakistan, said.

     

    In India, huge waves caused by a depression over the Bay of Bengal submerged at least two seaside villages in the eastern state of Orissa, affecting around 200 families, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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