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Floods Impact Millions in Pakistan

Over a million flood impacted Pakistanis in southern Punjab and Sindh provinces are waiting for Islambad to declare and emergency.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 9/5/2011, 4:27 PM

Pakistan Floods 2011
Pakistan Floods 2011
Screen Capture

Over a million Pakistanis in southern Punjab and Sindh provinces are waiting for Islambad to declare and emergency and rush shelter, medicine, and food to the inundated districts.

"The southern districts of Punjab province situated next to [the] generally dry Sutlej River are flooded owing to release of huge quantities of water by India while the Sindh districts are submerged due to last week's heavy rains whose spell is not over yet," a spokesman of Pakistan's Weather Department (MET) told reporters on Wednesday.

The lax and indifferent attitude of the federal as well as provincial government officials is partly to blame for the slow reconstruction work after last year's record floods.

Last year's flood starting in August inundated up to one-fifth of the country and affected 20 million people, destroying 1.6 million homes and leaving over 14 million people acutely vulnerable.

The official National Disaster Management Authority says that in seven districts of Sindh alone, 9,367 villages are submerged in floodwater, crops on over 2.4 million acres are destroyed, 500,000 houses damaged. The Authority said 89,500 people are residing in temporary shelters.

"The impact of the floods on the most marginalized and vulnerable sections of the society have primarily been the disruption of gainful employment and loss of food commodities due to the inundation," social welfare officials said.

"More than 800,000 families are still without proper homes and many flood defenses, such as river embankments, destroyed in last year's floods, have not yet been properly repaired increasing the likelihood of breaches in future floods. For example, embankments in Sindh province have reportedly been increased by only two or three feet rather than the recommended six feet," they added.