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Deaths From Floods in Pakistan on Rise Amid Torrential Monsoon Rains

Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains across most parts of Pakistan have killed nearly 1,000 people and injured and displaced thousands more since mid-June.

The new death toll came a day after Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif asked for international help in battling deadly flood damage in the impoverished Islamic nation.

The monsoon season, which began earlier than normal this year, has lashed Pakistan with particularly heavy rains and rescuers have struggled to evacuate thousands of marooned people from flood-hit areas. The crisis forced the government to declare a state of emergency.

“We preempted the situation and warned and forced hesitating residents to leave their homes for safety and move to relief camps established at government buildings in safe places,” said Sania Safi, a top administrator in Charsadda.

In Nowshera district, local administrator Quratul Ain Wazir said flood waters submerged streets before the gushing waters headed toward low-lying areas.

“Our administration has evacuated many people and taken others to relief camps where government provided beds and food in safe buildings,” she said. … “We will use police to force those hesitant to leave their homes.”

Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb said soldiers and rescue organizations were helping people to reach safety in many districts of southern Sindh, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eastern Punjab and southwestern Baluchistan provinces.

“Government has sanctioned sufficient funds to financially compensate the affected people and we will not leave our people alone in this tough time,” Maryam Aurangzeb said.

In response to Sharif’s appeal for international aid, the United Nations planned a $160 million flash appeal for donations, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar. He said in his weekly briefing Friday that the appeal will be launched Aug. 30.

Thousands whose homes were swept away now live in tents, miles away from their inundated villages and towns, after being rescued by soldiers, local disaster workers and volunteers, authorities said.

Heavy rains and subsequent flash floods have damaged bridges and road networks across Pakistan, disrupting the supply of fruit and vegetables to markets and causing a hike in prices.

Much of neighboring Afghanistan was also hit by heavy rain and flooding. Mohammad Nasim Haqqani, spokesman for the country’s National Disaster Management Ministry, said at least seven people were killed in eastern Nangarhar province over a 24-hour period, and more than 600 others were rescued by Defense Ministry helicopters. The seven in addition to 182 fatalities announced dead earlier in the week.

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