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‘Humanitarian disaster of epic proportions’: Pakistan calls for international flood support

Pakistan wants international support to help with a “humanitarian disaster of epic proportions” as the death toll from months of flooding reached nearly 1,000.

It comes amid exceptionally heavy rain that has been lashing the country since mid-June.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif met with foreign diplomats in the capital Islamabad to discuss damage caused by the floods.

“The ongoing rain spell has caused devastation across the country,” he tweeted, thanking other countries and groups for their support.

“Together we will build back better.”

The flooding from rains, melting glaciers and cloudbursts has affected more than three million people.

More than 170,000 homes have been damaged and roads and bridges destroyed, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

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Although floodwater has receded in some areas, the situation worsened in Sindh province, where rescue workers have been using boats to evacuate marooned people.

Thousands of flood-affected people are living in makeshift homes and tents.

The crisis forced Mr Sharif’s government to declare a state of emergency.

A woman uses a trunk to salvage usable items from her flood-hit home in Jaffarabad, a district of Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. Pakistan's government in an overnight appeal sought relief assistance from the international community for flood-affected people in this impoverished Islamic nation, as the exceptionally heavier monsoon rain in recent decades continued lashing various parts of the country. (AP Photo/Zahid Hussain)
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This woman uses a trunk to salvage items from her home in Jaffarabad

A United Nations statement on Thursday said it has allocated £2.5m for UN aid agencies and its partners in Pakistan to respond to the floods.

“This will be used for health, nutrition, food security, and water and sanitation services in flood-affected areas, focusing on the most vulnerable,” it said.

Monsoon rains in Pakistan typically begin in July.

But this year, heavy downpours started lashing the country in June, triggering floods.

People navigate through flooded roads after heavy monsoon rains, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Pervez Masih)
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Hyderabad has been badly affected

Scientists say climate change is a major factor behind the unusually severe weather.

Climate change minister Sherry Rehman said: “This is a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions, thousands are without shelter, many are without food and people are stranded.

“We need to ask not just the provinces and Islamabad, it is beyond the capacity of any one administration or government to rehabilitate and even manage the rescue and relief.”

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