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A "monster monsoon" is wreaking havoc in the South Asian country of Pakistan. The torrential rains, which began in mid-June and continued for eight weeks, have left a third of the country underwater and turned villages into islands. Most recent reports indicate over 1,500 people have died and 30 million — 1 in 7 Pakistanis — have been displaced from their homes.
More than two million acres of farmland have been flooded resulting in the loss of livestock and rice and cotton crops. Hundreds of thousands of people have no access to drinking water or sanitation facilities. People in the rural communities, who keep cash savings at home, have seen their money literally washed away by the flood waters. Those who do have funds left are rapidly depleting them to survive in the crisis.
Many bridges and roadways are underwater or impassable, and over 800 health facilities have been impacted by the flooding. Some have been forced to close entirely. According to initial government estimates, the physical damage to the country may surpass $30 billion.
“People have lost everything and we’ve seen colossal damages to homes, dams, agriculture, horticulture, livestock, incomes, water systems, and sanitation facilities," says Abdul Hadi Khattak, Islamic Relief’s Monitoring and Evaluation specialist. "The floods are affecting every aspect of society, and we fear they will continue to have a devastating impact on people’s lives for a long time to come."
The United Nations and Pakistan are seeking $160 million to help recover from the disaster. Many countries are heeding the call. China has sent 25,000 tents and other much-needed supplies, while the United Kingdom has pledged £15 million ($17 million) towards rebuilding efforts. Since August 12, 2022, the United States has provided over $50 million in disaster assistance to help the people of Pakistan. On September 12, 2022, US service members delivered 400 metric tons of relief supplies, including kitchen sets, tarps, and shelter-fixing kits. They are expected to help over 300,000 people with shelter and household needs.
Resources: theguardian.com, Alzajeera.com, Uniecef.org, CNN.com