Anger grows over Pakistan flood relief

Rescue efforts after heavy flooding in Sindh province still hampered by bad weather, as 132 deaths reported.

    Anger and frustration is growing over the slow pace of relief in Pakistan's southern Sindh province following deadly flooding that has left at least 132 people dead.

    At least five million people in Sindh and Baluchistan provinces have been affected by the monsoon rains, according to regional officials. About 900 villages have been submerged and about 100,000 homes have been completely destroyed.

    Kristen Elsby, a spokesperson for the United Nations Childrens Agency in Pakistan, told Al Jazeera that about 200,000 people had turned to relief camps.

    "More has to be done at the community level, such as social mobilisation campaigns, to help them on how to prepare, because there seems to be floods every year," she said.

    "This is a disaster the likes of which the province hasn't seen in hundreds of years," Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Badin, one of the worst-hit districts in Sindh province, said on Saturday.

    He said residents in the area were in desperate need of assistance, asking for food, drinking water and shelter.

    "We have lost our homes, our belongings, and our lifestock. No one is here to help us, the government is not worried about us," farmer Darho Khaki said.


    Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reports from Sindh province 

    Sindh province is a remote area, and relief efforts were hampered by bad weather, making airborne rescue missions impossible.

    "Since rain is continuously pouring, and increasing every day in its volume, more areas are becoming inaccessible," Zafar Qadir, director of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority, told Al Jazeera.

    "But most people have been rescued. There are a few, unfortunately, who want to stay on their own lands. But we are trying to bring rescue to their doorsteps
    and as long as human lives are saved we are fine."

    Crops lost

    The flooding has also caused tremendous damage to Pakistani crops during the harvesting. Reuters news agency reported that up to 13 per cent of the country's estimated crop may have been lost.

    "This[Badin] is the most fertile part of the province, where we have excellent crop patterns that are the backbone of the province's economy," Qadir said.

    "The most productive crop is cotton. And I have seen with my own eyes that more than 80 per cent has gone.

    "In livestock, too, we have reports that 60,000 cattle have gone, drowned and dead. That's going to create a lot of difficulties for the farmers when they can get back to their houses."

    Last year, about 20 million people were directly affected by the worst floods in the country's history. About 2,000 people were killed in the disaster.

    One year after the floods, more than 800,000 families remained without permanent shelter and more than a million people remained in need of food assistance, according to Oxfam, an international aid organisation.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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