The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday that it was working “quickly” to provide a “significant” relief and rehabilitation package following catastrophic floods in the country.
In a statement, the ADB said that the package is designed to “support people, livelihoods, and infrastructure immediately and in the long-term”.
For the short and medium-term, the bank said it would use ongoing projects to repair damaged infrastructure, including roads and irrigation infrastructure, and to support the development and financial stability of the agriculture sector to boost food security.
“We’re also processing countercyclical support to help the poor and vulnerable, especially women and children, weather the impacts of food prices and other external shocks,” the ADB said.
Long-term, we’ll prioritise projects that support post-flood reconstruction and strengthen climate and disaster resilience, it added.
“We will provide more details of our new assistance package when it is finalised. We will work closely with the government and other international agencies to help rebuild the lives and livelihoods of the more than 33 million people affected by the disaster,” the ADB concluded, adding that it stood with the people of the country.
The announcement came as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in New York to participate in the United Nations General Assembly where he is expected to highlight Pakistan’s climate catastrophe.
“Reached NY a few hours ago to tell Pakistan’s story to the world, a story of deep anguish and pain arising out of a massive human tragedy caused by floods. In my address at UNGA and bilateral meetings, I will present Pakistan’s case on issues that call for world’s immediate attention,” he said.
Deaths approaching 1,600; Sindh launches helpline
According to the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) latest report, the total number of deaths has risen to 1,559, with 15 reported during the last 24 hours.
However, the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre’s (NFRCC) dashboard showed the number to be 16.
Further, the total number of injured has risen to 12,850, the NDMA report showed.
Meanwhile, around 70,000 patients were treated in medical camps set up in flood-hit Sindh during the last 24 hours. A report by the Sindh Directorate General Health Services showed that 2.7 million patients have been treated since July 1.
The report also showed that 14,460 patients were treated for diarrhoea, 13,669 were treated for skin-related diseases, 475 have malaria and 20 have dengue.
Moreover, the Sindh health department and the Extended Immunisation Programme (EPI) collaborated to launch a 24/7 emergency helpline (021- 99223374) to cater to internally displaced persons and those affected by the floods.
Iqbal urges nation to play its part
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal highlighted that two-thirds of the country had been affected by floods.
“Today, I want to appeal to those Pakistanis whose businesses are operating as per usual, whose crops are swaying in the fields, those who are sleeping peacefully in their beds at night with the fan or air conditioner on […] hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sister have been displaced because floods have turned the entire district into a sea.”
Today, they are seeking refuge along the side of the road, the minister said as he highlighted the losses due to the floods. Iqbal said the nation should play their part in helping the country combat this crisis, adding that this should continue until the last displaced Pakistani returns home.
During the press conference, the minister also said that the government was working on introducing an “adopt a district programme” so that flood-affected areas could be provided support from areas that had been spared.
“We are sending requests to the provincial government for this programme,” he said as he called on areas spared by the floods in Punjab to lend their support to affected areas in Sindh and Balochistan.
Water levels in Sindh
Official in charge of the irrigation cell for Manchhar Lake, Sher Mohammad Mallah, told Dawn.com that the water level was at 120.4 feet reduced level.
He went on to say that the water in nine union councils of Sehwan had reduced by three feet, adding that there was at least five feet of water in the villages.
Dadu Deputy Commissioner Syed Murtaza Ali Shah said that the pressure on the bunds surrounding Johi, Mehar and Bhan Syedabad had alleviated but there was still 7-8 feet of water.
Senior journalist Hamid Mir visited the hometown of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and tweeted a video showing a flooded area with submerged electric poles poking out of the water.
“My boat touched the roof tops of many homes drowned by the water of Manchhar Lake,” the journalist said.