Pakistan flood toll continues to climb with 57 more deaths, 25 of them children, as country pleads for relief

The death toll from Pakistan’s cataclysmic floods continues to rise with 57 more people reported dead, including 25 children, as aid received so far remains insufficient for over 33 million people displaced.

The figures were released by Pakistan‘s National Disaster Management Authority on Saturday from flood-affected areas of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan provinces, in which 25 were children.

The authority says the death toll since mid-June — when monsoon rains started weeks earlier this year — now stands at 1,290.

Pakistan has appealed again to the international community for aid for victims of the unprecedented flooding from monsoon rains that have left millions homeless around the country.

Rescue operations are continuing on Sunday, with troops and volunteers using helicopters and boats to get people stranded out of flooded areas to relief camps.

Planes from around the world have been bringing supplies to the impoverished country across a humanitarian air bridge.

Scores of relief camps have been set up in government buildings servicing tens of thousands of people. However, thousands more have taken shelter on roadsides on higher ground and the help offered so far remains insufficient for the 33 million people impacted.

According to initial government estimates, the devastation has caused £8.7 billion in damage, and planning minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Saturday “the scale of devastation is massive and requires an immense humanitarian response for 33 million people”.

Officials in southern Pakistan have also warned that more flooding is expected as Lake Manchar swelled from unprecedented monsoon rains that began in mid-June and have killed nearly 1,300 people.

Meteorologists forecast more rain in the region in the coming days and authorities have urged villagers in the Jamshoro and Dadu districts of Sindh province near the lake to evacuate.

The rising waters have reached dangerous levels and pose a threat to a protective dyke and embankment, they said.

The lake, located west of the Indus River, is the largest natural freshwater lake in Pakistan and one of the largest in Asia.

Fariduddin Mustafa, an administrator for Jamshoro district, said on Sunday that officials made a cut into the lake’s embankment to allow excess water to escape and ultimately flow into the Indus. But still, the water continued to rise, he said.

Parts of Dadu district have already been flooded, officials said.

The large-scale devastation caused in Pakistan has footprints of climate crisis which has made heatwaves and heavier monsoon more likely around the world and especially in South Asia - one of the most vulnerable regions.

Pakistan’s climate minister Sherry Rehman has asked rich countries to pay reparations to poor countries in Pakistan suffering from the impacts of the climate crisis, an issue which is set catch pace ahead of the upcoming UN Cop27 summit, the largest conference for world leaders to discuss ways to combat climate change.

UN Chief Antonio Guterres called on the world to stop “sleepwalking” through the deadly crisis. He will visit Pakistan on Friday to tour flood-hit areas and meet with officials.

Additional reporting by agencies