One year after a devastating and historic flood, Pakistan once again is suffering through rising waters and casualties.
It was a little over a year ago in 2010 when monsoon rains brought Pakistan’s worst flooding in 80 years. The flooding which began in the province of Baluchistan and poured across the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province into Punjab and Sindh, caused the deaths of close to 2,000 people.
Now, once again Pakistan is faced with heavy rains and flooding which have killed at least 233 people.
According to Irshad Bhatti, a spokesperson for the National Disaster Management Authority, 7 people have died in 24 hours and at least 5.5 million have been affected by the flooding since August of this year, according to chairman of the disaster authority, Zafar Iqbal Qadir.
As with most floods, the destruction of infrastructure and the upheaval to the lives of individuals magnify concerns.
The United Nations, UNICEF, as well as Christian organizations such as the Church World Services (CWS) are lending assistance. CWS which responded to last year’s historic flooding has health teams on standby to respond to immediate need.
Kristen Elsby, spokeswoman for UNICEF estimated that 2.7 million children are among the affected. She also estimates that half of the 300,000 people in camps are children. The flooding has overwhelmed more than 4.5 million acres and damaged an estimated 80 percent of crops. At least 1.19 million homes have been damaged, said authorities.
Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has called for international assistance.
“International organizations and the world community should focus their attention on the affected people,” said Gilani in an address to his nation on Saturday.
As was the case in 2010, Sindh, a southern province susceptible to floods has been one of the hardest-hit areas with thousands of houses and large areas of crops destroyed.
The United States, Iran, Japan and China are among the countries that have provided or pledged aid, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported this week.