Pakistan floods - live: More than 1,100 dead as disaster could ‘cost $10bn’

·11-min read

More than 1,100 people have died in Pakistan’s deadly floods, as the government estimates that the disaster may cost the cash-strapped nation over $10bn.

The UN launched a major appeal on Tuesday seeking to raise $160m in emergency aid for flooding victims, as the first consignments of support started to arrive from Turkey, China, Canada and Qatar.

Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal said the world has an obligation to help the South Asian nation cope with the effects of the man-made climate crisis.

The minister said it might take five years to rebuild and rehabilitate the nation, while in the near term Pakistan will be confronted with acute food shortages.

Unprecedented flash floods caused by historic monsoon rains have washed away roads, crops, infrastructure and bridges in Pakistan affecting more than 33 million, over 15 per cent of the country’s 220 million population.

Almost one-third of the country could be underwater by the end of the monsoon season.

Key Points

  • Death toll crosses 1,100 in Pakistan

  • Pakistan's deadly floods ‘to cost $10bn’, take 5-year to rebuild, says planning minister

  • UN to seek $160 million in emergency aid for Pakistan floods

  • Helicopters struggling to find dry spot to land in Pakistan as people await aid

  • Third of country under water with half a million forced from homes

  • What role did climate change play in Pakistan's fatal flooding

04:44 , Stuti Mishra

Good morning! Welcome to The Independent’s live blog with all the latest updates from the unprecedented flash flooding in Pakistan on 30 August 2022. Stay tuned!

Pakistan's deadly floods ‘to cost $10bn’, take 5-year to rebuild, says planning minister

05:05 , Stuti Mishra

Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal has said the deadly flash floods could cost the country over $10bn and it may take five years to rebuild, as around one-third of Pakistan is feared to be underwater.

The climate change minister has called the situation a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions”.

“I think it is going to be huge. So far, (a) very early, preliminary estimate is that it is big, it is higher than $10bn,” Mr Iqbal told Reuters.

“So far we have lost 1,000 human lives. There is damage to almost nearly one million houses,” Mr Iqbal said.

“People have actually lost their complete livelihood.”

Mr Iqbal rated the recent floods worse than those that hit Pakistan in 2010, for which the UN had issued its largest ever disaster appeal.

The minister said it might take five years to rebuild and rehabilitate the nation, while in the near term it will be confronted with acute food shortages.

Third of country under water with half a million forced from homes

05:15 , Stuti Mishra

A third of Pakistan is underwater, the country’s climate minister has said as history-making floods saw nearly a half million people crowd into camps after losing their homes.

“It’s all one big ocean, there’s no dry land to pump the water out,” Sherry Rehman told AFP, calling the devastation wreaked by the flash floods a “crisis of unimaginable proportions”.

She also told the Associated Press that Pakistan was on the “front line” of the world’s climate crisis as unprecedented monsoon rains have killed more than 1,130 people since mid-June.

Here’s the latest update on the flood situation from Emily Atkinson:

Pakistan floods: Third of country under water with half a million forced out of homes

Pakistan may import vegetables from arch-rival India as floods wreak havoc

05:30 , Stuti Mishra

As Pakistan stares at a food shortage in the midst of unprecedented floods, the country is looking at options for importing vegetables and may consider buying from arch-rival India.

The two neighbouring countries have not shared any meaningful trade for a long time.

“We can consider importing vegetables from India,” finance minister Miftah Ismail told local Geo News TV, adding other possible sources of food imports included Turkey and Iran.

Food prices have shot up further due to flooded crops and impassable roads. Pakistan was already suffering from inflation which has sparked several protests in recent months.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said he was saddened by the devastation caused by the floods.

China, Cananda send aid to Pakistan

05:45 , Stuti Mishra

Pakistan has appealed for international help and some countries have already sent in supplies and rescue teams.

The Chinese government said on Monday it will provide additional humanitarian aid, including $300,000 in cash and 25,000 tents. China had already sent 4,000 tents, 50,000 blankets and 50,000 waterproof tarps to Pakistan.

China’s president Xi Jinping also called his Pakistani counterpart Arif Alvi to express his condolences on the severe flooding, according to Chinese state media.

The Canadian government on Monday announced $5 million in funding for humanitarian assistance to Pakistan to deal with the flooding.

Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal also said the world owed Pakistan, which was a victim of climate change caused by the “irresponsible development of the developed world.”

Our carbon footprint is lowest in the world. The international community has a responsibility to help us, upgrade our infrastructure, to make our infrastructure more climate resilient, so that we don’t have such losses every three, four, five years.

Pakistan’s planning minister Ahsan Iqbal

“Those areas which used to receive rainfall aren’t receiving rainfall and those areas which used to receive very mild rains are receiving very heavy rainfall,” he added.

Map shows extent of devastation in Pakistan

06:03 , Stuti Mishra

This map shows the scale of Pakistan’s unprecedented floods as a third of the country is feared to be underwater before the season ends.

Approximately 33 million people are believed to be impacted by the deluge described as a “humanitarian disaster of epic proportions” with over 1,000 dead.

Infographic showing the worst-affected regions in Pakistan by number of houses destroyed (UNOCHA)
Infographic showing the worst-affected regions in Pakistan by number of houses destroyed (UNOCHA)

India considering sending aid to Pakistan, report says

06:34 , Stuti Mishra

High-level discussion are reportedly underway in India as the country considers sending help to neighbour and arch-rival Pakistan amid the unprecedented flooding there.

According to a report by the Indian Express newspaper, the Narendra Modi government is holding talks “at the highest levels” on the possibility of extending humanitarian assistance to Pakistan.

While no decision has been taken yet, the newspaper quoted officials as saying that there are a number of options on the table.

India and Pakistan have shared little to no trade and diplomatic ties in recent years amid tensions over New Delhi’s move to withdraw statehood from Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019.

Earlier Pakistan’s finance minister said they are considering buying vegetables from India amid flood-induced food shortages (see post below).

But another Indian media outlet played down the prospect of a resumption of trade, quoting an unnamed high-level official saying that trade between the two countries is not possible while Pakistan “keeps promoting cross-border terrorism”.

India has long accused Pakistan of harbouring militant groups which then conduct destabilising activities across the border.

Railway services suspended for 10 days in Balochistan

07:01 , Stuti Mishra

Pakistan’s Balochistan province, which was the first to witness widespread devastation in this season’s flooding, is still struggling to resume railway services after the deluge washed away key tracks and bridges.

Railway services have now been suspended for another 10 days in the province, local media outlets reported.

However, railways authorities remain unsure of restoration even after 15 days.

The train route linking Balochistan to Iran has been closed for a month now.

Explainer: What role did climate change play in Pakistan's fatal flooding

07:30 , Stuti Mishra

The familiar ingredients of a warming world were in place: searing temperatures, hotter air holding more moisture, extreme weather getting wilder, melting glaciers, people living in harm’s way, and poverty. They combined in vulnerable Pakistan to create unrelenting rain and deadly flooding.

The flooding has all the hallmarks of a catastrophe juiced by climate change, but it is too early to formally assign blame to global warming, several scientists say. It occurred in a country that did little to cause the warming, but keeps getting hit, just like the relentless rain.

Read more:

EXPLAINER: Pakistan fatal flooding has hallmarks of warming

Helicopters struggling to find dry spot to land in Pakistan as people await aid

08:11 , Stuti Mishra

Military helicopters and troops are working to provide help to victims of Pakistan’s massive flooding which has seen over 33 million people impacted.

But Pakistan’s climate minister says rescue and aid workers are encountering problems in finding a dry place to land helicopters, with almost one-third of the country feared to be underwater.

“Many districts are beginning to look like they’re part of the ocean,” Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate change told German broadcaster DW News.

“Our helicopter sorties are not finding dry land to drop rations.”

This combination of 24 March and 28 August 2022 photos provided by Maxar Technologies shows a village and fields in Rajanpur, Pakistan, in the aftermath of flooding (©2022 Maxar Technologies)
This combination of 24 March and 28 August 2022 photos provided by Maxar Technologies shows a village and fields in Rajanpur, Pakistan, in the aftermath of flooding (©2022 Maxar Technologies)

Images show the unprecedented scale of disaster in Pakistan

09:22 , Stuti Mishra

Residential areas entirely inundated, children wading through water and people struggling to get relief supplies, the latest images from Pakistan show the extent of the humanitarian disaster as one-third of the country is feared to be underwater in climate crisis-induced flooding.

A flood affected man walks over his collapsed mud house after heavy monsoon rains in Jaffarabad district, Balochistan (Getty Images)
A flood affected man walks over his collapsed mud house after heavy monsoon rains in Jaffarabad district, Balochistan (Getty Images)
Aerial view shows a flooded residential area after heavy monsoon rains in Balochistan (Getty Images)
Aerial view shows a flooded residential area after heavy monsoon rains in Balochistan (Getty Images)
Flood affected people stand in a long line with utensils to get food distributed by Pakistani Army troops in a flood-hit area in Rajanpur, district of Punjab, Pakistan (AP)
Flood affected people stand in a long line with utensils to get food distributed by Pakistani Army troops in a flood-hit area in Rajanpur, district of Punjab, Pakistan (AP)
Newborn baby Yasmeem sleeps on a cot at her flood-damaged house on the outskirts of Sukkur, Sindh province (Getty Images)
Newborn baby Yasmeem sleeps on a cot at her flood-damaged house on the outskirts of Sukkur, Sindh province (Getty Images)
Displaced people scuffle to receive relief food box from a government official in a flood hit area following heavy monsoon rains in Sukkur, Sindh (Getty Images)
Displaced people scuffle to receive relief food box from a government official in a flood hit area following heavy monsoon rains in Sukkur, Sindh (Getty Images)
Children use a raft to make their way in a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains on the outskirts of Sukkur, Sindh province, on August 27, 2022 (Getty Images)
Children use a raft to make their way in a flooded area after heavy monsoon rains on the outskirts of Sukkur, Sindh province, on August 27, 2022 (Getty Images)

Stranded family saved after sliding on bed frame across water

10:00 , Stuti Mishra

A video shows a flood-affected family tying a bed frame to some rope so they could slide across the murky water below in Pakistan as a large number of houses are inundated in historic floods.

Miraculously, their plan seems to work and they reach the other side where there are many more people waiting.

Analysis: Why South Asian nations need to demand more climate finance in the upcoming Cop27 summit

10:30 , Stuti Mishra

Pakistan is the fourth country to face massive flooding this season affecting millions of people, and third to see it at an unprecedented scale as climate crisis increases the severity and frequency of extreme weather events.

While this is true for the entire planet, South Asia is especially vulnerable to more damage due in the coming years.

As the world gears up for the next UN climate summit, calls for climate finance and loss and damage fund are set to grow from South Asian countries devastated by back to back extreme weather events in recent months.

Read more:

South Asian nations facing extreme weather look to Cop27 - but will it deliver?

UN to seek $160 million in emergency aid for Pakistan floods

11:00 , Stuti Mishra

The United Nations and Pakistan are set to appeal for $160 million in emergency funding today for nearly a half million displaced victims of record-breaking floods that have killed more than 1,150 people since mid-June, officials said.

Pakistani authorities backed by the military, rescuers and volunteers have been battling the aftermath of the floods that have affected more than 33 million people, or one in seven Pakistanis.

Last week, the United Nations in a statement said it has allocated $3 million for U.N. aid agencies and their partners in Pakistan to respond to the floods.

Read more:

UN to seek $160 million in emergency aid for Pakistan floods

Death toll crosses 1,100 in Pakistan

12:03 , Stuti Mishra

The death toll from the devastating floods in Pakistan reached 1,136 in the last 24 hours with another 1,634 injured, according to the latest data issued by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The increased tally comes as rains have stopped in some areas of Pakistan but the water levels remain dangerously high with millions of houses damaged or inundated.

Aid also began arriving in the country from Monday but relief workers are struggling to get in touch with the victims as large swathes of land are entirely covered in water and transport infrastructure is severely impacted.

Pakistan facing 'monsoon on steroids', says UN chief in funding appeal

12:30 , Stuti Mishra

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has released a video message launching an appeal for a $160 million fund for victims of Pakistan’s historic floods.

Mr Guterres described the deadly deluge in Pakistan as a “monsoon on steroids” as the country faces unprecedented damage from climate crisis-induced floods.

“The Pakistani people are facing a monsoon on steroids -- the relentless impact of epochal levels of rain and flooding,” Mr Guterres said in a video message released in Islamabad and Geneva simultaneously.

He added the scale of needs, with millions of people forced from their homes, schools and health facilities destroyed and livelihoods shattered by the climate catastrophe, required the world’s collective and prioritised attention.

Underlining the vulnerability of South Asia, the UN chief said: “South Asia is one of the world’s global climate crisis hotspots.”

“People living in these hotspots are 15 times more likely to die from climate impacts.”

Full story: Today it’s Pakistan, tomorrow it could be your country, warns UN chief

13:00 , Stuti Mishra

Launching an appeal for Pakistan a while ago, UN chief Antonio Guterres described the deadly deluge as a “climate catastrophe” and asked the world to provide “collective and prioritised attention” to the country.

“It is outrageous that climate action is being put on the back burner as global emissions of greenhouse gases are still rising, putting all of us – everywhere – in growing danger,” he said.

“Let’s stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change.”

“Today, it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”

Here are the full remarks from the UN chief and the latest on Pakistan floods from Saphora Smith:

Warning ‘your country could be next’ as Pakistan hit by ‘monsoon on steroids’