KARACHI: Fresh rains hampered rescue efforts in Pakistan’s south Friday as thousands of people trying to leave flood-threatened towns remained stranded, Sindh’s irrigation minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo said.
The catastrophic flooding that has inundated vast swathes of Pakistan, killing 1,760 people so far, has continued to flow south towards the Arabian Sea and still threatens to submerge more towns and villages in its path.
“Fresh rains have affected rescue and relief efforts and thousands of people are still stranded in different towns of Dadu district,” Dharejo said.
He said that more rain was due Saturday, further endangering the strained river embankments as officials, military and local residents worked to bolster the defences around Dadu district.
“Dadu district and the town of Johi are still in danger of flooding, but rain is hampering our mobility to reach out to the maximum people,” he added.
The devastating floods have left 10 million people without shelter nationwide, according to UN figures, with UN spokesman Maurizio Giuliano describing it as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters in UN history”.
Some 21 million people have been affected by the floods, which began more than six weeks ago, with more than eight million reliant on aid handouts for survival.
Advancing floodwaters continue to threaten parts of Sindh province, with 19 of its 23 districts deluged and 2.8 million people displaced, according to provincial authorities.
The UN’s development chief for Asia, Ajay Chhibber, has called on the world to respond to Pakistan’s crisis and help it rebuild to secure hearts and minds in the insurgency-wracked nation.
Global cash pledges have been slow coming to bolster rescue and relief efforts.
Last week the UN said that despite an improvement in aid donations after a visit to Pakistan by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in mid-August, extra pledges had “almost stalled” since a week earlier.
An initial relief appeal has been about two-thirds funded, and Chhibber said a second appeal would be launched on September 17, seeking help for the next steps in Pakistan’s recovery.