More than 900 people died, and over 30 million others were affected in Pakistan as a result of massive floods caused by torrential rains, prompting the government to declare a national emergency.
The death toll rose to 937 on Thursday, including 343 children and 198 women, Daily Pakistan reported, citing data from the National Disaster Management Authority.
Sindh and Balochistan were among the provinces devastated by the floods. The heavy rains severed Balochistan’s internet connection and caused flights to suspend operations, local media Geo TV reported.
Train operations were also halted following the collapse of a key railway bridge connecting Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan, to other regions of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Friday that he had met with ambassadors and local authorities to sensitize them about the “scale of human tragedy,” as well as the challenge and response to the calamity.
“The ongoing rain spell has caused devastation across the country. The losses, though yet to be documented, are comparable to flash floods of 2010,” Sharif said in a tweet.Floods have damaged 170,000 homes, washed away roads, and destroyed nearly 150 bridges, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.
Government official Sherry Rehman said the real challenge was saving lives and arranging tents and food for homeless people as thousands were left stranded.
“We need to ask not just the provinces and Islamabad, it is beyond the capacity of any one administration or government to rehabilitate and even manage the rescue and relief,” Rehman said.
Monsoon rains in Pakistan typically begin in July. But this year, heavy downpours started lashing the country in June, triggering floods.
The United Nations said it has allocated $3 million for U.N. aid agencies and its partners in Pakistan to respond to the floods. The funds will be used for health, nutrition, food security, and water and sanitation services in flood-affected areas.
“The U.N., and non-government organizations, have been working alongside the government to provide support,” it said in a statement, noting that the floods have caused “widespread destruction” across Pakistan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.