Pakistan floods death toll nearing 1,000, say officials

Flash floods triggered by destructive monsoon rains across much of Pakistan have killed nearly 1,000 people and injured and displaced thousands more since June, officials have said.

The new death toll came a day after the prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, asked for international help in battling deadly flood damage. More than 33 million people have been displaced.

The government has declared an emergency to deal with monsoon flooding, which began in June and continues to wreak havoc in Pakistan.

Pakistan floods affect 33 million people as national emergency declared – video report

The National Disaster Management Authority in its latest overnight report said 45 people were killed in flood-related incidents from Friday to Saturday. That brought the death toll since mid-June to 982 with 1,456 injured.

Many parts of Pakistan have become inaccessible, and rescuers are struggling to evacuate thousands of marooned people from flood-affected areas. Balochistan and Sindh provinces are the worst-affected areas.

Local media reported late on Saturday that the Kach dam near Ziarat city, 80 miles from Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, had broken due to heavy flooding – putting lives of local residents at risk. Other dams in the area have also reportedly been damaged.

There were also reports that protesters had blocked the Indus Highway, the only safe passage between Hyderabad and Karachi and northern Sindh and the rest of Pakistan at Naseerabad. The protesters claim the local lawmakers have endangered the population by diverting floodwater.

Three people were killed as a result of landslides and floods in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and the authorities in Nowshera asked for immediate evacuations amid a “very high flood” in the Kabul River.

Videos shared on social media showed bridges, roads and hotels sinking into water and people running to evacuate their homes. The army has been called in for rescue help in the province.

Map

The additional deputy commissioner of Swat said on Friday that roads spread over 130km (80 miles) had been damaged and 15 bridges were completely destroyed as the flood wreaked havoc and more than 100 houses and at least 50 hotels and restaurants were also destroyed.

Former prime minister Imran Khan has been under severe criticism for a planned rally on Saturday in Jhelum, in the north of Punjab province. Khan was also criticised for refusing to collect funds for flood relief during his visit to flood-affected areas. Khan said he could only appeal for funds after an assessment of losses.

Khan has been holding rallies across the country since April, when he was ousted from power through a constitutional vote of no confidence. He is demanding fresh elections and has criticised the military and the west for orchestrating his ouster.

The planned rally was criticised on social media. Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar tweeted: “In bad taste. Thousands have been left without shelter and food. While the nation suffers, politics can surely wait.”

Khalil Roonjha, a social activist who has been leading flood relief activities with volunteers, said Khan should put politics aside and raise funds for the flood relief.

Roonjha said: “Khan is a national figure. He should come ahead, raise funds and help people across Pakistan, not only where he rules. He must stop politicising everything for a while.”

Pakistan’s information minister, Mariyam Aurangzaib, said the prime minister Sharif was with the flood victims, including the coalition government representatives.

She said: “Imran Khan refused to raise funds for flood and doing political fundraising and has called for political gatherings. No politician anywhere in the world has acted like this in the middle of a national emergency in a way Imran Khan is acting. This is sad.”

After the criticism, the PTI leader, Asad Umar, a close aide of Khan, tweeted: “Tomorrow Imran Khan will be holding a telethon to raise funds for flood relief efforts. Details will be announced later today.”

In response to Sharif’s appeal for international aid, the UN planned a $160m flash appeal for donations, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Asim Iftikhar. He said in his weekly briefing on Friday that the appeal would be launched on 30 August.

The UK government has announced £1.5m of humanitarian funding as urgent support to Pakistan.