SPECIAL REPORTS

Waters on a Rampage

Epic floods sweep over one-fifth of Pakistan

A woman and child wade through water in Pakistan, the effects of the Indus river overflowing. © Courtesy of Gospel for Asia 2010

Annual rains that are usually celebrated in Pakistan have brought tears, as the downpour has caused flooding in epic proportions and has destroyed land and lives in a significant chunk of the country.

Monsoon-type torrential rains dwarfed the northwest, mountainous region of Pakistan starting July 22, causing a flood-domino effect that has spread south. A month later, three major provinces now under water, those floods have come to affect one-fifth of the country, an estimated 20 million people.

The rain caused swelling of the Indus river, which then doused entire communities in a rampage of water. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province in the northwest was initially hit and then floods soon engulfed communities in Punjab and Sindh.

Though it is difficult to estimate loss of life, due to destruction of such accounting methods, it is being reported by government officials that 1,600 people are dead while another 4-6 million remain homeless.

Photos of men and women wading through waist-deep water is the narrative of this tragedy, as people struggle just to find dry ground, much less recover their valuables and heirlooms. Due to the sweeping nature of the floods, crops and livestock have been completely washed away, causing families with already a fragile livelihood to be in even more difficult circumstances.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is claiming that 3.5 million children have the potential of death due to water-borne diseases and lack of care.

The scene here is millions holding out hands, asking for help, going days without food. Emergency response teams and funds from around the world have begun to pour in. Like most natural disasters, rebuilding will take time. The important thing right now is to get food and shelter to those in need and create living situations where disease won’t run rampid.

The worst part, fear many in this country: the rains are expected to continue.

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To contribute to those in need in Pakistan, you may give through Food for the Hungry, as the organization delivers food and humanitarian supplies through on-the-ground partnerships there. You may give at this address: http://www.fh.org/learn/news/disaster/pakistan-flood-relief?promocode=EK2IAC0H5