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More areas face new flooding misery in Pakistan

Following days of heavy rain during this year’s monsoon season, areas of Sindh province in Pakistan are again being devastated by flooding.

The country’s Provincial Disaster Management Authority estimates that 2 million people have now been affected in 15 out of 23 districts across Sindh. 85 people have lost their lives in the latest floods, mainly through collapsing houses or electrocution. 

With widespread destruction of crops, the provincial authorities are promising a package of compensation for victims. But with many families barely recovering from last year’s losses, Pakistanis are unsure about how much help they will receive and whether it will be enough. International aid agencies may again be called in to help with the situation.

Many humanitarian agencies have a continuing presence in Pakistan. For example, Oxfam’s work in Punjab is highlighted by a feature in the Guardian. This shows photos of the communities being helped by Oxfam as they brace themselves for fresh flooding misery. With many flood defences destroyed last year and still unrepaired, villages in the Punjab are doing their best to prepare for a new onslaught of flood waters. Oxfam has been issuing emergency supplies such as first aid kits and training local people in life-saving skills such as resuscitation.

Where villagers have managed to reconstruct their houses, some have been creating earth embankments around their buildings as a form of protection. But the photos also show families facing a new collapse of their homes, as well as those who have not been able to rebuild their dwellings since last year. In one picture, a homeless family is seen with their belongings stacked on platforms built into palm trees. In another photo, a young boy carries firewood and water across the rubble of his former village. Many people across the province are still living in tents or temporary mud shelters after they lost everything to the floods of 2010. 

The monsoon season hits Pakistan from July to September and further downpours are expected before the rains subside. Other regions of the country have suffered from flash floods. In one district of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province, at least 30 people died as dozens of houses were swept away in torrents crashing down the hillsides. Buildings have also been damaged or swept away in districts of the south western province of Balochistan. After last year, many villagers are reported to be taking no risks and have moved to higher ground while the monsoon season is ongoing. Families in these regions and across Sindh and Punjab province must be asking themselves when they will ever see an end to their troubles.

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