Pakistan floods: deaths from ‘climate catastrophe’ pass 1,000 - areas worst affected

Pakistan has been hit by monsoons in recent months

There have been more than 1,000 deaths from widespread flooding in Pakistan since mid-June, officials said on Sunday, as the country’s climate minister called the deadly monsoon season “a serious climate catastrophe.”

Flash flooding from the heavy rains washed away villages and crops as soldiers and rescue workers evacuated stranded residents to the safety of relief camps and provided food to thousands of displaced Pakistanis.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority reported that the death toll since the monsoon season began earlier than normal this year – in mid-June – reached 1,033 people after new fatalities were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southern Sindh provinces.

What has the government said?

Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani senator and the country’s top climate official, said in a video posted on Twitter that Pakistan is experiencing a “serious climate catastrophe, one of the hardest in the decade”.

“We are at the moment at the ground zero of the front line of extreme weather events, in an unrelenting cascade of heatwaves, forest fires, flash floods, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events, and now the monster monsoon of the decade is wreaking non-stop havoc throughout the country,” she said. The on-camera statement was retweeted by the country’s ambassador to the European Union.

A resident wades across a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains on the outskirts of Sukkur, Sindh province, on August 27, 2022. - Thousands of people living near flood-swollen rivers in Pakistan's north were ordered to evacuate on August 27 as the death toll from devastating monsoon rains neared 1,000 with no end in sight. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Areas worst affected by flooding

The unprecedented monsoon season has affected all four of the country’s provinces. Nearly 300,000 homes have been destroyed, numerous roads rendered impassable and electricity outages have been widespread, affecting millions of people.

Ms Rehman told Turkish news outlet TRT World that by the time the rains recede “we could well have one fourth or one third of Pakistan under water”.

“This is something that is a global crisis and of course we will need better planning and sustainable development on the ground … We’ll need to have climate resilient crops as well as structures,” she said.

The government has deployed soldiers to help civilian authorities in rescue and relief operations across the country.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani army said in a statement that it airlifted 22 tourists who were trapped in a valley in the country’s north to safety.