News / Asia

Pakistanis Flee As More Towns Flood

Raging floodwaters have inundated more districts in southern Pakistan, where officials say the world has given or pledged more than $800 million to help the country cope with its natural disaster.

Pakistani authorities have diverted their resources and rescue operations toward southern parts of Sindh Province, where rising river waters have hit at least four more districts, including urban areas.  The floods forced tens of thousands of people in the region to flee for higher ground.

Exceptionally heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan triggered the worst floods in northwestern Khyber-Pakhtoonkhawa Province three weeks ago.  Raging floodwaters have since inundated thousands of villages and towns across central Punjab, southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces.

Watch the Latest Footage of Pakistan's Flooding:

The United Nations appealed for nearly $460 million to meet the most urgent needs of the flood victims in Pakistan for the next three months.  The initial response to the appeal was slow.

But Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad last week's U.N General Assembly's special session to discuss the flood-ravaged country's needs has led to an encouraging increase in the international aid.

"And the money already committed as $490 million.  So that means we have crossed the (U.N) appeal figure (of 460)," said Qureshi.  "Then there are additional pledges that are being made.  If you put these two figures together the figure that comes to is $815,058,000. That is almost double than the figure that we were expecting."

The Pakistani foreign minister says his country is grateful for the international assistance.  The United States has been the largest contributor. In addition to $150 million aid for flood victims, Washington has sent 19 helicopters to help Pakistan with relief efforts.

Foreign Minister Qureshi defended his government's decision to accept $5 million in assistance offered by rival India, with which Pakistan has fought three wars.

"Let us be realistic about things.  Here we are appealing to the world to help Pakistan save lives.  Children, women and Pakistanis are under threat because of cholera, because of water-born disease, and the world has come out to help Pakistan," he said.  "Now India has offered assistance. And I think it was a positive gesture and we should have no remorse or regrets doing that [accepting the Indian aid].  This is a question of humanity, humanitarian assistance.  So let us keep politics aside."

The worst floods in Pakistan's history have affected an estimated 20-million people with several million losing their homes. The natural disaster has caused widespread damage to crops, agricultural land, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure on one-fifth of Pakistan's territory.

The increasingly unpopular Pakistani government has been accused of moving too slowly to help the flood victims.  Critics say it will come under increased pressure after floodwaters recede because millions of people will want the government to quickly rebuild their homes and compensation for the loss of crops as well as livestock.

Officials anticipate the floodwaters will recede nationwide in the next few days as the surge in the Indus River is expected to empty into the Arabian Sea.  

Government officials say at least 1,600 people have died in flood-related incidents.  But aid workers say poor hygiene, sanitation and stifling heat conditions in the disaster zone could trigger another wave of deaths.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs