South Asia

Floods chaos worsens in Pakistan

Pakistani people walk in a flooded grave yard after rain in Karachi on September 11, 2011
Image caption Karachi has also been hit by heavy rain but the worst of the damage is in Sindh's rural areas

More than 200 people have died and millions remain affected after two weeks of flooding in Pakistan's southern Sindh province, officials say.

The situation is worsening each day as water levels are rising because of poor drainage, the head of Pakistan's disaster management body said.

The UN has begun relief work but more rain has been forecast for the area.

Meanwhile, in India's eastern Orissa state more than one million have been displaced and 16 killed in floods.

About 2,600 villages have been submerged across 19 districts. The army and navy have been called in to help as many villagers are still stranded and dependent on food drops from helicopters.

'Huge' crop losses

Heavy monsoon rains have been battering South Asia for days but southern Pakistan has borne the brunt of the bad weather in recent weeks.

Almost one million houses there have been destroyed or damaged and floods have affected nearly 4.2m acres of land, the UN says.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says that the rain is heaping misery on the hundreds of thousands living out in the open. Many people remain stranded on high ground and rooftops surrounded by flood waters, our correspondent says.

The United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef, said up to 2.5 million children had been affected.

One official said children and families, many of them still recovering from last year's devastating floods, are in urgent need of help before the situation worsens.

More rain has been forecast for the coming days.

"The situation in Sindh is already serious and there will be more flooding and more problems because of these rains," Arif Mehmood, a meteorology official, is quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

In other developments:

  • Officials in Badin district are said to have issued a warning to people to vacate their homes and breaches in several canals have forced evacuations in Mirpurkhas town
  • After Pakistan's leaders appealed for international help, China pledged $4.7m (£2.96) for urgent humanitarian assistance
  • Pakistan's disaster management authority said it was working to quantify what it called the "huge" losses in cash crops such as sugar cane and cotton

Officials in Orissa, India, said at least 61,000 people had been evacuated to safety and relief and rescue operations had begun.

Several rivers, including the Mahanadi, are overflowing and flood waters have severed a number of key road links.

Some areas had been cut off due to breaches in river banks and embankments and helicopters were the only way to bring food and water to people stranded there, Mr Mohapatra said.

Orissa's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the authorities were taking all measures to bring aid to those affected, adding that the state might seek help from central government.

Officials said the situation was expected to get better soon as rains had stopped and the water level in the Mahanadi and other rivers had begun to recede.

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