Flood relief activities will continue for the next two years in Pakistan; victims say “not our country”

Relief activities in Pakistan are expected to continue over the next two years, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Thursday, citing the devastating effects of the cataclysmic floods that have claimed 1,666 lives since mid-June.

The floods left a third of the country submerged in water and caused damage estimated at nearly $30 billion, Geo News reported.

Iqbal, Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, blamed climate change for the unprecedented rainfall and flooding that injured hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than 33 million others.

”Natural disasters are the result of climate change, however, we are making plans to deal with them in the future. So far, the government has allocated Rs 40 billion for 20 underdeveloped districts,” he said.

In addition to the lives lost, more than two million homes were destroyed and more than one million head of cattle – a major source of income for rural households – were lost in the floods.

The floods also raised questions about whether the cash-strapped country would be able to pay its debts on time, with the local currency weakening against the dollar and foreign exchange reserves dwindling.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari have called for climate justice to compensate for the destruction as the disaster was climate-induced and Pakistan, which emits one of the lowest carbon emissions in the world , bears the brunt of emissions caused by developed countries.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of flood-displaced people living in open camps have expressed dissatisfaction with the government for its failure to provide relief and support.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Sindh ranks first among the most affected provinces due to what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called a “monsoon monsoon”.

Shapira Khatoon, 35, who sits quietly amidst the chaos, doesn’t bat an eyelid as she is still unable to recover from the shock of losing her newborn baby.

Samina, her 13-year-old daughter, said most of the children living in the camps suffered from “high fevers and had been diagnosed with dengue fever or malaria”.

“Almost 80% of the children here suffer from malaria and diarrhoea.” The WHO said the resurgence of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, skin and eye infections and acute diarrhea risked triggering a “second disaster”.

“The day before we arrived in Karachi, my mother was in labour,” said teenager Samina, suddenly looking much older than her age.

“It was pouring rain and we had rushed to Larkana Civil Hospital. But for 10 hours that day my mum was lying in the operating room […] waiting for a doctor without electricity. We waited until 3 am […] the next morning my mother gave birth to a baby girl,” she said.

“For nearly 1,000 people, we have only four toilets, two of which are toilets and in a terrible state,” said Faqeer Ghaus Bakhsh from Meharpur region in Sindh.

A young girl standing in the crowd of people gathered nearby said, “Ye humara watan thori hay (this is not our country). “It’s not our country. We’ve been locked in a room here and we’re not allowed to leave or go anywhere,” the girl told the Dawn newspaper.

Another flood victim said the government now plans to move all those affected to a relief camp – a tent city – in the town of Surjani.

“Jungle main le ja k phenk den gain ye log human (they’ll throw us into the jungle) […] they say we will be provided with all the facilities there,” said Qurban Ali of Mehar.

Sakina Ali from Mehrabpur district, who lived in the camp with her grandchildren, said: “This is all a scam […] the government […] They promised to give us 25,000 rupees under Benazir income support scheme but this is all fraud. As part of its flood cash relief scheme, the government had earlier announced that it would give 25,000 rupees through the Benazir income support scheme to those affected by the floods. .

The woman in her 50s explained that she went to Nadra’s office as soon as she arrived in the city.

“They said I could withdraw the money from the bank but when I went the money just wouldn’t come out of the machine [ATM],” she explained.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Sally J. Minick