Satellite images show a third of Pakistan under water, prompting emergency appeal for humanitarian response

Aid workers have appealed for urgent donations to help fight the “absolutely devastating” impact of floods in Pakistan. New satellite images It seemed to confirm that a third of the country was now underwater.

Like England Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) launched an appeal to raise funds for the 33 million people affected, as the European Space Agency released stark images based on data captured by its Copernicus satellite.

The images confirm Pakistani government estimates that more than a third of the country – roughly the size of England – has been inundated by monsoon rains, estimated to be 10 times heavier than usual.

“The Indus River overflowed, effectively creating a long lake, tens of kilometers wide,” Isa said in a statement.

The floods claimed more than 1,100 lives, including 399 children, destroyed more than a million homes and swept away crops, livestock and vital infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

Data captured by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus satellite on August 30 was used to map the extent of the floods currently ravaging Pakistan. Photo: ESA

On Thursday, Saleh Saeed, chief executive of DEC, the umbrella organization for 15 leading UK aid charities, called on the British public to help. “Timing is critical and conditions are expected to worsen as the rains continue,” he said. “We urge everyone: Please give your best.”

Maryam Imtiaz Take care Pakistan He said it was clear the emergency was “out of control”. “The situation on the ground is absolutely devastating … we need all the help we can,” he added.

Aid workers face enormous logistical challenges to reach millions of people, especially in the southeastern Sindh province where water levels are high. Even in areas where water levels have receded slightly, aid delivery has been hampered by damaged roads, downed power lines and blocked rail lines.

“[It] It means aid agencies are struggling – getting aid from A to B is a challenge,” said Waseem Ahmad. Global Islamic Relief. And supplies to relief agencies and people are dwindling [in quantity].”

Speaking from the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ahmad said he had been in the country in 2010 when floods killed 2,000 people, but this was worse.

“The situation … is absolutely chaotic everywhere. People are waiting on roadsides for humanitarian aid like water, food, shelter, which is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. In my 22 years of experience [a] A humanitarian aid worker, I have never seen the devastation caused by a flood.

He met a woman whose house and livestock had been swept away, he said. “She pointed out a place [that] It was her home. Only water could be seen there. Such is the extent of the destruction unfolding in Pakistan.

Another humanitarian worker on the ground, Ajeeba Aslam, Assisted Age The international said 2.3 million of the 33 million people affected are believed to be elderly, and are particularly vulnerable as temporary camps for displaced people are often inaccessible.

A colleague in Sindh told her about an old man she met “very desperate on the railway”. “He actually helped evacuate his son and grandchildren, and now he’s lost them. He doesn’t know where they are. And he’s having a hard time walking, so he has no shelter, no food, no water, nothing,” she said.

In a country with already high levels of poverty and malnutrition, the massive destruction of crops and livestock is a particular concern, and what millions fear is an “extremely severe winter”.

A family rests after retrieving belongings from their flood-damaged home in Charsadda, Pakistan.
A family rests after retrieving belongings from their flood-damaged home in Charsadda, Pakistan. Photo: Muhammad Sajjad/AP

Jennifer Ankrom-Kahn, Country Director Action against hungerHe said the flood damage comes on top of the Covid pandemic and the economic impact Food price rise Caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We have already seen huge inflation in food prices and now with this flood we have affected all the seasonal crops, all the food stores that were being maintained by the various communities, by the government.”

He added: “So it’s not going to affect now, but in the long run.”

Government of Pakistan Said the damage The floods could cost around $10bn (£8.6bn) and have prompted calls for the world to help as it struggles to cope with the impact of the climate crisis.

ThursdayUK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, UK “[stood] with Pakistan” and donated £15 million to aid relief efforts.

A third of that will come from a pledge to match-fund the first £5m raised through DEC’s appeal, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said.

DEC said it was “incredibly grateful” to the UK government for the pledge, but added that it “looked forward with confidence”. [to] If possible the UK Government will increase that pot”. The match-fund ceiling is significantly lower than in recent appeals To Ukraine and Afghanistan.

The appeals will be broadcast on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky following evening news packages on Thursday.

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