Pakistan/2010 Floods/background

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Pakistan

Pakistan (Urdu: پاکِستان) (Urdu pronunciation: [paːkɪsˈtaːn], officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکِستان), is a country in South Asia. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south, is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, and India in the east and China in the far northeast. Tajikistan also lies very close to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Thus, it occupies a crossroads position between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The region forming modern Pakistan was at the heart of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and then later was the recipient of Vedic, Persian, Indo-Greek, Islamic, Turco-Mongol, and Sikh cultures. The area has witnessed invasions and/or settlements by the Indo-Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Mongols and the British.

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Provinces

Pakistan is a federation of four provinces, a capital territory and a group of federally administered tribal areas. The government of Pakistan exercises de facto jurisdiction over the western parts of the disputed Kashmir region, organized as two separate political entities (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan). Prior to 2001, the sub-provincial tier of government was composed of 26 divisions with two further tiers (districts and tehsils) administered directly from the provincial level. The divisions were abolished in 2001 and a new three-tiered system of local government came into effect comprising districts, tehsils and union councils with an elected body at each tier. There are currently 107 districts in Pakistan proper, each with several tehsils and union councils. The tribal areas comprise seven tribal agencies and six small frontier regions detached from neighbouring districts whilst Azad Kashmir comprises seven districts and Northern Areas comprises six districts.

  1. Balochistan
  2. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  3. Punjab
  4. Sindh Territories
  5. Islamabad Capital Territory
  6. Federally Administered Tribal Areas
  7. Azad Jammu and Kashmir
  8. Gilgit-Baltistan

The Flood 2010

Reuters AlertNet Crisis Briefing

The 2010 Pakistan floods began in July 2010 after record heavy monsoon rains. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan was worst affected. At least 1600 people were killed, thousands were rendered homeless, and more than fourteen million people were affected. Estimates from rescue-service-officials suggest the death-toll may reach 3,000 victims. According to a recent estimate of the United Nations, the number of people suffering from these massive floods in Pakistan exceeds 13.8 million, which is more than the combined total of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The disaster will also do major harm to struggling Pakistani economy due to extensive damage to infrastructure and crops.

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Flooding

The floods were caused by monsoon rains, which were forecast to continue into early August and were described as the worst in this area in the last 80 years. The Pakistan Meteorological Department said that 300 mm (12 inches) of rain fell over a 36-hour period and more was expected. So far as many as 500,000 or more people have been displaced from their homes. Manuel Bessler, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, stated that 36 districts were involved, and 550,000 people were affected, although later reports increased the number to as high as a million affected. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial information-minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said "the infrastructure of this province was already destroyed by terrorism. Whatever was left was finished off by these floods." He also called the floods "the worst calamity in our history." Four million Pakistanis were left with food shortages.

In early August, the heaviest flooding moved southward along the Indus River from severely-affected northern regions toward western Punjab, where at least 1,400,000 acres (570,000 ha) of cropland was destroyed, and the southern province of Sindh. The crops affected were cotton, sugarcane, rice, pulses, tobacco and animal fodder. Floodwaters and rain destroyed 700,000 acres (3,000 km2) of cotton, 200,000 acres (800 km2) acres each of rice and cane, 500,000 tonnes of wheat and 300,000 acres (1,000 km2) of animal fodder. According to the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association, the floods destroyed 2 million bales of cotton, which led to increase in futures of the commodity in international market.

The power infrastructure of Pakistan also took a severe blow from the floods, which damaged 10,000 transmission lines, transformers, feeders and power houses in different flood hit areas. Flood water inundated Jinnah Hydro Power and additional 150 power houses in Gilgit. The damage caused increase in country's power shortfall to 3,135 MW.

Aid agencies have warned that outbreaks of diseases, such gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and skin diseases due to lack of clean drinking water and sanitation can pose a serious new risk to victims of flood. On August 14, the first case of cholera emerged in the town on Mingora, as fear ran through millions of stranded victims of flood, who are already suffering from gastroenteritis and diarrhea.

Pakistani authorities have predicted that fresh rainfall is expected to trigger further two waves of flooding, inundating more land and swallowing yet more villages. One of this new flood surge is currently sweeping down from mountainous areas in the north and expected to hit highly populated areas in the coming days, while the second wave is being formed in the mountains.

Taken from Wikipedia

Videos

Pakistan Flood on Sky News

Disease Threatens Pakistan Flood Victims

Pakistan floods strand thousands

Pakistan flood survivors struggling


Response by non-governmental organizations

Link to Wikipedia


Further Information