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Pakistan declares national emergency after floods kill more than 900 people

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Pakistan declares national emergency after floods kill more than 900 people
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Islamabad: Pakistan government has declared a national emergency as rain-induced floods have so far killed 937 people, including 343 children, and left at least 30 million without shelter.

The country's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called the incessant monsoon rains a "climate-inducted humanitarian crisis of epic proportions".

From June 14 to date, Sindh reported the highest number of deaths as 306 people lost their lives due to floods and rain-related incidents, according to the latest data compiled by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Marking an increase of 241 per cent, Pakistan received 166.8mm of rain in August as opposed to the average of 48mm.

Balochistan reported 234 deaths whereas Khyber Pakh­tun­khwa and Punjab Province recorded 185 and 165 deaths, respectively. In Pakistan-occupied Kash­mir, 37 people were killed while nine deaths were repor­ted in the Gilgit-Baltistan reg­ion during the current monsoon rains.

Sindh and Balochistan - the worst-hit regions - witnessed a 784 percent and 496 percent increase in the monsoon deluge, respectively, the Dawn News reported.

The abnormal increase in rainfall generated flash floods across the country, particularly in the southern part of Pakistan, which rem­ains inundated at the moment with 23 districts of Sindh being declared "calamity-hit", the newspaper reported.

Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman said on Thursday that a "war room" has been set up by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at NDMA, which would spearhead relief operations across the country. She said that the incessant "monstrous" rainfall had "made it hard to carry out relief operations, especially helicopter sorties".

"Pakistan is going through its 8th cycle of monsoon; normally the country has only three to four cycles of [monsoon] rain," the minister said during a press conference in Islamabad. "Pakistan is under an unprecedented monsoon spell and data suggests the possibility of re-emergence of another cycle in September," she was quoted as saying by the daily.

Stressing the need for relief from international donors, the minister said that the need for shelter and relief was dire as per what the provinces had conveyed.

Sindh has asked for one million tents and Balochistan has demanded 100,000 tents, she said, adding that all tent manufacturers had been mobilized and external donors were also approached for tents.

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TAGS:Pakistan Balochistan Shehbaz Sharif 
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