Pakistan floods: deaths pass 1,280 — and a third of them are children

The cumulative death toll since June 14 rose to 1,282 on Saturday, the country’s National Disaster Management Agency reported, and nearly a third of the victims were children. On Saturday alone, there were 57 more deaths, including 25 children.

Aid agencies warn that the country’s disaster is far from over – and as the disaster continues, children will be among the most vulnerable.

The flooding – the result of a combination of record-breaking monsoon rains and melting glaciers in the mountains of northern Pakistan – has been described as the worst the country has ever seen.

According to satellite images from the European Space Agency, at one point more than a third of the country was under water, with government and aid organizations saying 33 million people were affected.

Among them, more than three million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance due to the risk of water-borne diseases, drowning and malnutrition, according to UNICEF. UNICEF says the floods have also damaged or destroyed 17,566 schools across the country, further endangering children’s education after two years of Covid-related closures.

Aid agencies say even if the floods recede, the country still faces a long way to recover.

“Survivors have to start all over again,” said Aurelie Godet, a spokeswoman for Medecins du Monde, a humanitarian relief organization that has been active in Pakistan since 1966.

“This won’t be over in two months, they need long-term aid.”

A third of Pakistan is under water amid the worst flooding in history.  Here's what you need to know

The two worst-affected provinces are Balochistan and Sindh, in southern Pakistan, where infrastructure and water systems have been damaged.

Calling for support from the international community, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif estimated last week that the disaster had caused more than $10 billion in damage to infrastructure, homes and farms.

A National Flood Coordination and Response Center has been established and the World Health Organization has release $10 million to treat the injured, provide supplies to medical facilities, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. China and the UK also have commit millions of dollars in aid to the country.
More than 1 million homes were damaged or destroyed, while at least 5,000 kilometers of roads were damaged, follow to the disaster management agency.

On Saturday, a high-level body set up to coordinate the relief effort met for the first time in Islamabad, Reuters reported. The day before that, the country’s largest charity, the Edhi Foundation, had urged the government to lift a longstanding ban on some international NGOs so they could help with the efforts. relief efforts, Reuters reported.

Jan Camenzind Broomby of CNN and Reuters contributed reporting.

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