Aid for Flood Victims Arrives in Hard-Hit Pakistani Province
KARACHI, Pakistan — Two more U.S. military planes loaded with tons of aid for Pakistanis affected by flooding from deadly monsoon rains landed Sunday in southern Sindh province, one of the worst-affected regions in the impoverished country.
Saif Ullah, spokesman for the country’s Civil Aviation Authority, said each plane was loaded with about 35 tons of relief aid that would be distributed in the province by the World Food Program. Ullah, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan said that each plane was loaded with about 35 tons of relief aid. The U.S. operation began Thursday and will continue to Sept. 16.
Pakistan has suffered under extremely heavy monsoon rains that started early this year — in mid-June. Numerous experts and officials blame climate change for the torrential rains and subsequent floodwaters. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week called on the world to stop “sleepwalking” through the dangerous environmental crisis. He repeatedly called on the international community not to stop sending massive aid to Pakistan.
Ullah stated Sunday that another two flights carrying relief items from the United Arab Emirates had landed in Karachi. U.N. agencies have already sent several planeloads of assistance to various countries, with authorities stating that the UAE was one of those most generous.
Since mid-June, nearly 1,400 people were killed and 13,000 others injured. Millions of people are now homeless due to the flooding. It also destroyed communications and road infrastructure.
The worst-hit Sindh Province saw 621 deaths, with 270 children among them, and 8400 were left hurt.
Floodwaters could have submerged miles of vegetable fields, sugarcane and cotton crops, as well as banana orchards. People were forced to shelter in their homes in the form of tents and houses made from brick or mud, as thousands fled their homes.
Officials have released the most recent report that shows floodwaters in Sindh caused unprecedented flooding, which destroyed over 1.5 million homes, 63 bridges and 2,688km of roads. Nearly half a billion animals were also affected by the flood water. This left more than 30 million people homeless.
Pakistan’s military chief Gen. Qamar Jawed Bajwa toured the badly affected district of Dadu in Sindh and its surroundings on Saturday. Dadu might be subject to more flooding due to the Indus River rising.
“People will continue to suffer if we don’t have a drainage system and dams,” Bajwa told reporters.
According to him, dam construction would reduce global warming by producing electricity and curbing pollution. He also stated that engineers from the army were asked to do an initial study.
Bajwa stressed the importance of working with alternative sources of energy and called on oil and coal to be reduced gradually.
Heavy rains and flooding in Pakistan have brought a fresh level of pain to the cash-strapped nation. They also highlighted the unintended effects of climate change upon poor populations.
Experts say Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4% of the world’s historic emissions that are blamed for climate change. For 21.5% of the global emissions, China is at 16.5% while the U.S. accounts for 15.5%. The European Union contributes 15%.
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