Pakistan is currently witnessing one of its worst natural crises ever. More than half of the country is under water and millions of people have been rendered homeless as a result of flash flooding. According to latest estimates, nearly 1,000 people, including 300 children, have lost their lives because of rains and flooding that have 33 million people – almost 15 per cent of the country’s population.
While a formal assessment of the extent of damages has yet to be done the situation is quite grim. “Vast tracts of farmland across the country are now submerged under water, which means many standing crops have been completely destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of livestock heads have additionally been lost to the floods. Transportation and communication networks have either been disrupted or completely destroyed in many areas, meaning it is no longer easy to move goods from one place to another. Meanwhile, the people residing in the worst-affected areas do not have enough food to eat or clean water to drink. There are reports that many are suffering from starvation.”
The government has reached out to friendly countries, donors and international financial institutions for cooperation at this difficult time. The United Nations also plans to launch a $160 million Flash Appeal for helping the victims of these floods.
The country, however, is in a tough position as an editorial in Dawn noted, “The federal and provincial governments face an uphill battle in ensuring food security over the coming months, as importing foodstuff to make up for domestic shortages is unlikely to be an easy option because of the upheaval in global markets as well as Pakistan’s considerably weakened external position. It is imperative, therefore, for the nation to come together to contribute towards relief and rehabilitation efforts. It is not only a moral obligation but also a practical need.”