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Widespread floods affect 2.5 million people, over 1 million acres of crops in Sindh, Pakistan

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Record rainfall and resulting floods in Pakistan's Sindh Province have affected nearly 2.5 million people and over 405 000 ha (1 million acres) of crops since the start of the rainy season. In total, 15 000 villages were inundated, more than 77 000 homes destroyed and over 137 000 damaged.

According to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, the most affected district in the province is Mirpurkhas, with 931 901 people affected, followed by Umerkot, with 697 900 people. Mirpurkhas is dependent on agriculture and livestock, with most of the population living in extreme poverty.

Heavy rains caused the Chenab and Indus rivers to burst their banks, forcing residents in districts such as Khaipur, Jamshoro and near the Guddu Barrage to evacuate. In Rahim Yar Khan, more than a dozen villages were submerged after the Indus River became swollen.

In Khairpur, more than 1 000 people were trapped and forced to help themselves as government aid reportedly did not reach the area on time. People in Jamshoro also suffered the same situation. 

Provincial management officials warned that floods in Guddu Barrage are expected to increase on September 10. "A high alert has been issued, camps have been formed, and patrolling in these areas has been increased," said engineer Aftab Khoso.

It’s not just that people’s homes have been destroyed," Jahangir Junejo, a landlord in the Sindhri tehsil of Mirpurkhas district, told Dawn.com.

"Standing crops on thousands of acres have been wiped out. Now, the landlords have suffered heavy losses and the farmers have no work," he explained, adding that villagers were literally dying of hunger.

In addition to floods, the region is now battling huge mosquitos. "They are killing our livestock," another resident said. "They are unlike any you may have seen. They are bigger than the house fly and don't even move when you shoo them away."

"This is a sorry sight," said a resident of Abu Bakr Junejo village, Mirpurkhas. "The people of this region always buried their dead, even the livestock. But now they are dying in such numbers that they are forced to abandon the bodies on the roadside."

Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered National Disaster Management Authority chairman Lt. Gen. Mohammad Afzal to coordinate with the Sindh government to assess the damage in the affected provinces. The PM also advised federal and provincial authorities to prepare a strategy for the compensation of losses.

Featured image credit: chave weather/YouTube

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