Monsoon rains test cash-strapped Pakistan

2011-09-12 20:13

Tando Muhammad Khan - Pakistan's cash-strapped government, struggling to help victims of last year's devastating floods, faces another major test as monsoon rains, which have already killed about 200 people in recent weeks, sweep across the south.

Flood waters across Sindh province have also destroyed or damaged nearly one million houses and flooded 4.2 million acres since late August, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Prospects for further flooding would put Pakistan's unpopular government, already battling Taliban militants, allegations of widespread corruption and public anger over power cuts and poverty, under immense pressure.

"The situation in Sindh is already serious and there will be more flooding and more problems because of these rains," said meteorology department official Arif Mehmood.

Neighbouring India has also been hit by floods, which have killed more than 300 people and affected close to nine million since monsoon rains started in June, said the Indian Red Cross.

"As the rain already started a few months ago, in some places, the water has receded... There is fear in some of the states regarding outbreaks of diseases like diarrhoea arising from poor hygiene and sanitation," said John Roche, country representative for the International Federation of Red Cross.

Zafar Qadir, chairperson of the National Disaster Management Authority, said Pakistan faced a crisis "of great magnitude".

In the town of Tando Muhammad Khan, residents who watched water rise to about 2.4m and rush through homes and shops feel helpless.

Water has been stagnant for a week in some areas.

Some, like 15-year-old student Sonam, were so shaken they concluded conditions were worse than last year's floods.

"The entire blame goes on the government," she said.

Slow and ineffective

Pakistan's military, which has ruled the country for more than half of its history, took charge of rescue and relief operations during last year's floods, while the government was seen as slow and ineffective.

Still, more than a year later, over 800 000 families remain without permanent shelter, according to aid group Oxfam, and more than a million people need food assistance.

Pakistan's high commissioner in London, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, told Reuters international support was needed.

"The unprecedented torrential rains followed by flooding were the last thing one would have expected to hit the country already head-deep involved in war against terrorism besides already facing enormous problems including an acute energy crisis and a challenging law and order situation," he said.

Pakistan may also have lost up to two million cotton bales, or about 13% of its estimated crop, due to heavy monsoon rains during harvesting in Sindh, government and industry officials said.

"The water flow to the sea is very slow. The drainage system has choked...the agriculture system could not stand the water pressure. So the devastation became immense," said Qadir.

Monsoon rains sweep the subcontinent from June to September and are crucial for agriculture.

Pakistan, which relies heavily on foreign aid and an IMF emergency loan package, cannot afford heavy losses in the agriculture sector, a pillar of the economy.

The 2010 floods killed about 2 000 people and made 11 million homeless in one of Pakistan's worst natural disasters.

One-fifth of Pakistan was then submerged in water - an area the size of Italy - and the government faced a $10bn bill to repair damage to homes, bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

Aid workers expressed fears over possible outbreaks of diseases linked to the new floods, especially among children.

"The biggest issue is that they will drink water from anywhere, so water-borne diseases are a threat, especially diarrhoea and cholera," Sami Malik, a spokesperson for the United Nations Children's Fund, told Reuters.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  weather  |  floods
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Bellville - 07:59 AM
    Road name: N1 Outbound
    DELAYS approaching the Durban Road exit
  • Wednesday Milnerton - 07:57 AM
    Road name: Marine Drive Inbound
    DELAYS approaching Boundary Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.