Flashfloods: Pakistani FM appreciates aid from China as ‘timely and useful’
SHIKARPUR, Sep 1.(Gwadar Pro)- Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday afternoon appreciated the aid from China amid the destructive flashfloods in the country as “timely and useful”.
The Foreign Minister accompanied diplomats on a flight over the flooded regions, which Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman earlier described as “one third (33 percent) of the country.”
FM Bilawal acknowledged that the international response had been encouraging. “Among the deliveries, four Chinese planes have delivered a total of 3,000 tents and other relief goods.” he mentioned.
The FM remarked that China had acted fast and sent useful aid on time. He also thanked other countries for their contribution.
Global aid has already started arriving in Pakistan as the scale of flood devastation unfolds, with planes carrying tents, food and medicines arriving from China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, stated the Pakistan Foreign Office on Wednesday.
International aid agencies have asked for the easing of curbs on imports of food from India, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said.
Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman told a news conference it will take a long time to bring the situation under control. “There is a severe issue of clean drinking water in the flooded areas. Diseases are spreading,” she warned.
Army helicopters have been busy plucking stranded families from rooftops and patches of dry land and dropping food in inaccessible areas, mainly in northern and southwestern Pakistan.
Colossal volumes of water are pouring into the Indus River, spilling out along its length and leaving vast tracks of land submerged.
Pakistan received nearly 190% more rain than the 30-year average in the quarter through August this year, totalling 390.7 mm (15.38 inches). Sindh province in the south, with a population of 50 million, was the hardest hit, getting 466% more rain than the 30-year average.
Resulting flash floods have swept away homes, businesses, infrastructure and crops. The government says 33 million people, or 15% of the 220 million-strong South Asian nation, have been affected.
The floods have washed away standing and stored crops that officials say will likely lead to a food shortage, with prices of edible items shooting up in a country already suffering from 24.9% inflation.
Early estimates have put the flood damage at more than US $ 10 billion, the government has said, appealing to the world to help it deal with what Pakistan called a man-made climate catastrophe.