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Flooding hits parts of Pakistan again this year

At least three-quarters of a million Pakistanis have again been affected by flooding, after many had barely begun to recover from last year’s disaster.

With the monsoon season in full swing, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates around 750,000 people have been affected in Punjab and Sindh provinces. 

The Badin district of Sindh is one of the worst-hit areas. The National Disaster Management Authority said that 100 villages in this district have been deluged after a breach occurred in a major drain. This flooding has left communities marooned once more and a state of emergency has been declared for the area by the provincial chief minister. Navy boats have evacuated some people, particularly the most vulnerable. The government has set up temporary shelters in over 40 schools in the district. However, many of those in remote communities are struggling to reach the shelters and have camped along roadsides in scenes reminiscent of last year.

The charity Plan International has a presence in the region and its disaster response teams in Sindh are in action. Thousands of homeless people are being provided with food, shelter and drinking water. The charity is also focusing on providing safe spaces for children and ensuring the safety of girls. However, Plan’s Country Director in Pakistan is fearful that the problems in the region could get worse as continued rain is forecast.

Parts of Punjab province have also been affected. Villages in the Kasur District have been flooded and an emergency has been declared in parts of Sialkot District. Here too, relief centres are being set up by the Pakistani authorities. But one spokesperson for the Kasur district told IRIN that it is proving hard to persuade some people to move to safer locations. Many poor farmers are reluctant to leave their lands, livestock and machinery.

On a visit to the Badin District, the prime minister of Pakistan promised those affected they will be given assistance following the floods, such as agricultural loans. But despite this assurance, many Pakistanis are feeling bleak and desperate about their situation. Many lost everything in the disaster last year and had barely begun to recover from that. One farmer in Sindh province lost all their livestock and told the Guardian “we suffered greatly in the floods last year. Now even dark clouds bring panic...for all of us here”.

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