More than a thousand people have been killed in the worst monsoon floods in Pakistan’s history which have affected more than two million people.
Relief workers and troops struggled to reach 27,000 people stranded in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in northwestern Pakistan. Hundreds of villages have been swept away by torrential rains, flash floods and landslides.
Meanwhile, army helicopters and boats were being used to rescue stranded people clinging to the walls and rooftops of damaged houses as gushing waters rampaged through villages. Army engineers were trying to reopen roads and divert swollen rivers.
Jane Cocking, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Director is quoted on Oxfam GB’s webpage about the Pakistan floods
People in the flood’s wake were already desperately poor and what little possessions they had have been washed away. The extent of this crisis is only slowly emerging. The more villages that are reached the grimmer the picture becomes. There is a desperate need for temporary shelter, clean drinking water and toilets to avert a public health catastrophe. People also need medical care and basic food items. We are looking at a sizable aid package that will require a great deal of public support.
Major General Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman, said that 30,000 troops were involved in the relief work. Thousands of remote villages in mountainous areas were cut off as roads and bridges were swept away by flash floods.
The provincial government said that about 3,700 houses had been destroyed and more than 90 main roads submerged in floodwater and closed for traffic, including the motorway linking Islamabad to Peshawar.
Government and United Nations officials said that diarrhoea and other diseases have broken out among the victims, raising fears of further rise in death toll.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said that the exact death toll could not be established because many areas were still cut off. The area worst-hit by the rain and landslide was the Swat valley where the Pakistani Army conducted an offensive against the Taleban last year.