Two more US military planes carrying tons of aid for Pakistan affected by heavy monsoon rains landed in the southern province of Sindh, one of the hardest-hit regions of the impoverished country, on Sunday.
Saif Ullah, a spokesman for the country’s Civil Aviation Authority, said each plane was carrying about 35 tons of humanitarian aid that would be distributed to the province through the World Food Program. The plane landed at Sindh’s Sukkur airport and Ullah said the US operation, which started on Thursday, will continue until September 16.
Pakistan has been dealing with extremely heavy monsoon rains from mid-June to early this year. Many officials and experts have blamed the rains and floods on climate change. Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the world to stop “sleepwalking” during the terrible environmental crisis. He has repeatedly called on the international community to send large amounts of aid to Pakistan.
Ullah said on Sunday that two more flights carrying relief materials from the United Arab Emirates landed at Karachi airport. Several aid packages have been sent by UN agencies and various countries so far, with officials saying the United Arab Emirates is one of the most generous contributors.
Almost 1,400 people have died, 13,000 have been injured and millions have been made homeless by massive flooding since mid-June. The water has also destroyed roads and communication infrastructure.
In Sindh province, the worst affected, 621 people, including 270 children, were killed and 8,400 were injured.
Cotton and sugar cane crops, banana plantations and vegetable fields are submerged in the flood waters. Thousands of mud and brick homes were flooded, leaving people homeless and sheltering in tents along damaged roads.
More than 1.5 million houses, 63 bridges, 2,688 km of roads and almost half a million animals have been drowned in floods in Sindh province due to unprecedented monsoon rains and flooding.
Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Sindh and its neighboring Dadu district on Saturday. Dadu could suffer further flooding from the rising waters of the Indus River.
“People will continue to suffer if we don’t have a drainage system and dams,” Bajwa told reporters.
He said constructing dams would help produce electricity, curb pollution and decrease global warming and that army engineers have been asked to conduct an initial study.
Bajwa said there is a need to work on alternative energy sources and called for a gradual reduction of oil and coal as energy sources to minimum levels.
Since June, heavy rains and flooding have added a new level of grief to cash-strapped Pakistan and highlighted the disproportionate effect of climate change on impoverished populations.
Experts say that Pakistan is responsible for only 0.4% of global historical emissions that are responsible for climate change. The United States represents 21.5%, China 16.5% and the European Union 15%.