Pakistan floods: 33 million affected by historic rains, says minister

By Frances Mao
BBC News

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A man drags his belongings through flood waters in Balochistan in southern PakistanImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Months of rains and floods have displaced hundreds of thousands of people across Pakistan

More than 33 million people have been affected by historic rains and floods that have swept Pakistan, the country's climate minister told Reuters.

Since June, more than 900 people have died in monsoon rains and floods that continue to break weather records.

Pakistan's climate minister said the government was battling with a "climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions".

The cash-strapped nation has called for additional international aid.

Climate minister Sherry Rehman said the country was now going through its eighth monsoon cycle "while normally the country only has three to four cycles of rain".

"The percentages of super flood torrents are shocking," she said.

Since the summer season began, multiple monsoon cycles have lashed Pakistan, causing huge floods that have destroyed over 400,000 homes across the country.

At least 184,000 people have been displaced, and forced to evacuate to relief camps in this time, the UN's disaster relief agency, OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) said in its own update on Thursday.

It noted a lower figure - of three million people - who had been affected by the natural disaster so far.

However, Pakistan's Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had earlier said that around 30 million people - or about 15% of the population - had been affected.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Thousands have sought shelter at temporary relief camps like this one set up in a government school

Southern Pakistan has been hardest hit by the rains, particularly the province of Sindh which has received nearly eight times its average August rainfall.

Ms Rehman on Thursday said local authorities there had asked for one million tents to house displaced people.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
People crossing a flooded street after days of rain in Karachi

One woman living in Hyderabad, Sindh's second-largest city told Reuters news agency: "We are living in a rickshaw with our children because the roof of our mud house is leaking.

"Where can we go? The gutters are overflowing, and our courtyard is filled up with sewage. Our houses and alleys have turned into a floating garbage bin."

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