Pakistan struggles with help for flood victims

A man evacuates his children in Nowshera, Pakistan (August 1, 2010) Many people in the areas hardest hit by the floods still have not received any help

Pakistan has stepped up relief work for its flood-hit north-west, with 30,000 troops joining the effort.

Officials say the death toll from the worst monsoon rains in memory has passed 900.

There are also fears that with more rain forecast for the next 24 hours, some areas face further threats.

However the main north-south motorway has partially reopened, raising the prospect of aid reaching thousands of people still waiting for assistance.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool, in the capital Islamabad, says that large parts of Pakistan's north-west remain submerged.

He says officials fear that once access to affected areas improves, the full picture will show that the situation is much worse than known so far. Pakistan has stepped up relief work for its flood-hit north-west, with 30,000 troops joining the effort.

He says officials fear that once access to affected areas improves, the full picture will show that the situation is much worse than known so far.

Victims of Pakistani flooding

The Pakistani government says 19,000 people in the worst-hit areas had been rescued by soldiers by Saturday night.

Military and rescue workers have been using helicopters to deliver essential supplies to areas that have had transport and communication links cut off.

The army has deployed 43 helicopters and over 100 boats to try to reach people still trapped by the floods, a disaster management spokesman for Khyber-Pakhtoonkwha province said.

"All efforts are being used to rescue people stuck in inaccessible areas and all possible help is being provided to affected people", the spokesman, Latifur Rehman, told the AP news agency.

New Fears

The death toll from Pakistan's worst monsoon flooding in memory has risen to over 900, officials said.

Army helicopters look to distribute relief supplies to Nowshera, Pakistan (August 1, 2010) The army has deployed helicopters and boats to help those trapped by water

More than half of the dead were counted in the districts of Swat and Shangla, according to Mujahid Khan of the private Edhi Foundation.

There have been reports that the flood water is receding in some areas.

However officials fear that relief operations could be hampered by more rain, with a new monsoon system forecast to arrive in the next 24 hours.

Officials are concerned that more heavy rains could push the flooding south into Sindh province.

The main motorway between Peshawar and Islamabad was opened partially on Sunday after it had been clogged with cars and lorries for days.

It is unclear which sections of the road to Islamabad are open to traffic, but a BBC correspondent says vehicles are now moving on some stretches.

The country's main north-south route had been closed because of heavy flooding and collapsed bridges.

The BBC's Lyce Doucet says heavy vehicles are still not allowed to pass because some bridges are too damaged to carry heavy loads.

But says she has seen a steady stream of traffic heading south.

Washed away

The UN's Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) in Pakistan says that about 1m people's lives had been disrupted.

BBC map

The districts of Swat and Shangla have been inaccessible with people left homeless and helpless after several rivers burst their banks, washing away villages, roads and bridges. Some 45 bridges were washed away in Swat alone.

Swathes of farmland have been inundated, and some power supplies have been cut after people were electrocuted by the water-borne current.

Many of those hit hardest by the flooding are the rural poor who live in flood-prone areas because they cannot afford safer land.

Pakistan has not made a formal request for international aid, but it is understood that it has appealed to donors to help it respond to this disaster.

As well as hundreds of deaths in Pakistan, at least 60 people have died across the border in Afghanistan, where floods affected four provinces.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More South Asia stories

RSS

Features

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.