Flood death toll reaches 1,545

Author: News Desk

At least 37 more deaths were reported in flood-related incidents on Saturday across the country, taking the death toll from the catastrophe to 1,545.

According to data released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 32 more people perished in Sindh and five in Balochistan. Moreover, at least 92 individuals were injured, including 91 in Sindh and one in Gilgit-Baltistan, taking the total number of injured to 12,850. The NDMA report added that as many as 104,072 houses were damaged on Friday and at least 8,252 heads of cattle were killed in flood-related incidents.

Earlier this week, the country feared that floods might have caused over $40 billion in economic losses and damages as the National Flood Response Coordination Centre (NFRCC) dismissed the initial assessment of $18 billion.

The $40 billion losses were flagged in a flood response centre meeting during a discussion on an interim report titled “An Early Assessment of Flood Impact on Pakistan’s Economy”, presented by the Ministry of Finance. The floodwater levels have started dropping in Sindh in recent days albeit gradually. Officials estimate that it may take two to six months before floodwaters recede completely.

On Saturday, Mehar Assistant Commissioner (AC) Mohsin Sheikh told media that the water level had dropped approximately three feet at the ring bund and expressed the hope that the floodwater would recede completely from there within three days.

He further said he was expecting the water to recede from the highway leading to the city in seven days. “Once it recedes, one track of the highway will be opened for traffic,” the AC added.

Meanwhile, water was standing up to eight feet in Mehar’s villages, he said. In Khairpur Nathan Shah city, Assistant Commissioner Sonu Khan Chandio said, the water level had dropped approximately three feet. In the region’s remote areas, he added, the stagnant water was as high as “eight to nine feet”.

Johi Assistant Commissioner Muhammad Ali Baloch estimated that water had dropped by around three feet in the region’s outskirts.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Saturday admitted that Pakistan’s economy was facing extraordinary losses due to the countrywide flash floods and that huge sums of money will be required to restore social and economic activities even as initial damage assessments put the losses over $30 billion.

Moreover, a joint international post-disaster needs-assessment survey will be launched as well.”At this time, we do not have a full overview of Pakistan’s damage and losses from the floods beyond what Pakistani authorities are continuously sharing,” a senior World Bank official told a private news channel. The official confirmed that the losses will be “extraordinary and that the recovery and reconstruction will require significant resources.”

The official was also asked about the impact the floods would have on Pakistani society at large, given reports were suggesting more than 15 million people could be pushed into poverty and the primary budget deficit widening to 2.8% of GDP, the official said the government.

The official said that beyond the surveys and estimates of the Pakistan government, the UNDP, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union have jointly initiated the preparation of a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA).

The official elaborated that the PDNA will provide a comprehensive initial assessment.

“The assessment is going to provide an early evaluation of the impacts of the 2022 floods situation, which is still evolving,” the World Bank representative said, adding, “Based on an internationally accepted methodology, and using available data provided by the federal and provincial authorities, as well as other sources of data, it will estimate the physical damages, economic losses, and costs of meeting recovery needs.”

Earlier, State Minister for Finance Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha said that economic damage and losses due to floods can go beyond the initial $30 billion estimate; however, a more definitive assessment can be offered after the current survey, and its analysis is complete later this month.

Dr Pasha said that a team of high-level national and international experts are currently working in the field to complete a damage assessment. She said all partners are committed to completing the assessment as soon as possible.

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