UN refugee agency rushes aid to Pakistan

The UN refugee agency has rushed the most desperate aid to strike Pakistan as rising waters in Lake Manchar pose a new threat to the south.

Two UNHCR planes landed in the southern port city of Karachi on Monday, with two more expected later in the day. A third plane, with the help of Turkmenistan, also landed in Karachi.

A total of 38 aircraft have delivered aid from countries including China, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, with more aid on the way.

More than 1,300 people were killed and more than 1.6 million homes damaged in Pakistan this year due to flooding caused by unusually heavy monsoon rains, which many experts attribute to climate change.

While the floods affected much of Pakistan, the southern province of Sindh was the hardest hit.

On Sunday, engineers dug an embankment on the shores of Lake Manchar to drain rising floods and prevent the town of Sehwan and several nearby villages from being flooded.

Last week, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the world to stop “sleep walking” during the crisis. He plans to visit the flood-affected areas on Friday.

The United States has pledged AU $ 40 million in aid to Pakistani flood victims.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto visited the affected areas in the flooded Indus River city of Sukkur on Monday.

The floods affected over 3.3 million people in the Islamic nation of 220 million and caused damages of AU $ 14.7 billion, according to government estimates. The provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were the hardest hit and most of the people killed were women and children.

More than 420,000 of the 1.3 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan have also been affected.

Flood waters are receding in the provinces of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, but the situation remains alarming throughout the province of Sindh.

Authorities say they are doing their best to help flood victims.

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