In the last 24 hours alone, 119 people have died and 71 people have been injured, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
At least 33 million people have been affected by the disaster, Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman said on Thursday. He called the floods “unprecedented” and “the worst humanitarian disaster of this decade”.
“Pakistan is going through the eighth cycle of monsoon, normally the country receives only three to four cycles of rain,” said Rehman. “The percentage of superfloods is staggering.”
He highlighted the impact in the south of the country in particular, adding that “maximum” relief efforts were underway.
The country’s interior ministry said in a statement on Friday that it has authorized the deployment of the army to assist in relief and rescue operations in flood-affected areas.
The ministry said the troops would assist Pakistan’s four provincial governments, including the worst-affected southwestern province of Balochistan.
The exact number of troops and where and when they will be deployed will be decided between the provinces and the government, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army said flood relief centers are being established in various parts of the country to help collect, transport and distribute flood relief supplies to the affected people.
Army personnel are helping to evacuate people to safer places and provide shelter, food and medical facilities to flood victims, the armed forces said.
Sindh, the southern province worst affected by floods, has asked for 1 million tents, while nearby Balochistan province – largely cut off from electricity, gas and internet – has asked for 100,000 tents, Rehman said.
“Pakistan’s priority, at this time, is this climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions,” Rehman said, urging the international community to provide assistance given Pakistan’s “limited” resources.
On Friday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Sharif briefed international diplomats on the crisis, saying his country — despite its relatively small carbon footprint — must focus its rehabilitation on becoming more climate-resistant.
Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal separately told Reuters 30 million people were affected, about 15% of the South Asian country’s population.
About 3 million people have been affected by the monsoon rains in Pakistan, with 184,000 of them displaced to relief camps across the country, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Office of the Agency (OCHA) said in an update on Thursday.
Financing and reconstruction efforts will be a challenge for cash-strapped Pakistan, which must cut spending to ensure the International Monetary Fund releases much-needed bailout money.
In the last 24 hours, 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) of roads have been damaged and more than 82,000 houses have been partially or completely damaged across the country, the NDMA said in a statement.
Since mid-June, when the monsoon began, 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of road, 130 bridges and 495,000 houses have been damaged, according to the NDMA’s last situation report, figures echoed in the OHCA report.