Aid for flood victims arrives in hard-hit Pakistani province

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KARACHI: Two more US military planes carrying tons of help for Pakistanis afflicted by flooding caused by catastrophic monsoon rains landed in southern Sindh province on Sunday, one of the worst-hit regions in the poor country.

According to Saif Ullah, spokesman for the country’s Civil Aviation Authority, each plane was laden with around 35 tons of disaster aid that the World Food Program would distribute throughout the area. The plane landed at Sindh’s Sukkur Airport, and Ullah said the US operation, which began on Thursday, will go until September 16.

Pakistan has been hit hard by very strong monsoon rains, which began in mid-June this year. Climate change has been blamed by multiple officials and academics for the rainfall and floodwaters. Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the globe to quit “sleepwalking” through the dangerous environmental catastrophe. He has often urged the international world to deliver significant aid to Pakistan.

Two more flights carrying relief supplies from the United Arab Emirates landed at Karachi airport on Sunday, according to Ullah. So far, UN agencies and several countries have delivered multiple planeloads of aid, with the UAE being one of the most generous suppliers, according to authorities.

Since mid-June, torrential floods has killed about 1,400 people, injured 13,000, and displaced millions. The floodwaters also wiped down transportation and communication infrastructure.

In the worst-affected Sindh province, 621 people were killed, including 270 children, and 8,400 were injured.

Floodwaters have inundated miles of cotton and sugarcane farms, banana groves, and vegetable fields. Thousands of mud and brick homes collapsed as a result of the flooding, leaving many homeless and sleeping in tents along damaged roadways.

According to the most recent official assessment, the enormous monsoon rains and floods destroyed more than 1.5 million dwellings, 63 bridges, 2,688 kilometers of road, and nearly half a million animals drowned in flood water across Sindh province, leaving over 30 million people homeless.

On Saturday, Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Qamar Jawed Bajwa, visited the heavily damaged district of Dadu in Sindh and its surroundings. The rising levels of the Indus River may cause additional floods in Dadu.

“If we don’t have a drainage system and dams, people will continue to suffer,” Bajwa told reporters.

He stated that dam construction will help generate electricity, reduce pollution, and reduce global warming, and that army engineers have been ordered to perform an initial investigation.

Bajwa stressed the importance of developing alternative energy sources and urged a gradual reduction in the use of oil and coal as energy sources.

Heavy rains and flooding have added to the misery in cash-strapped Pakistan since June, highlighting the disproportionate impact of climate change on underprivileged populations.

According to experts, Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4 percent of the world’s historic emissions attributed for climate change. The United States is responsible for 21.5 percent, China for 16.5%, and the European Union for 15%.

Source: AP

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