‘National disaster’: Monsoon rains have claimed 77 lives so far, says Sherry Rehman


ISLAMABAD, JUL 6: Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman on Wednesday revealed that monsoon rains across the country — which began on June 14 — have claimed 77 lives so far of which 39 were reported in Balochistan.

“The figure includes children, men and women. We are trying to reach out to locals with the help of the national and provincial disaster management authorities,” she said at a press conference.

Heavy rains have been lashing multiple areas of the country since the start of this week. According to authorities, the downpour has wreaked havoc in Balochistan where the local administration has geared up to deal with any emergency situation.

In a briefing today, Rehman said that urban flooding had been reported in Quetta, Pasni and Turbat. “The water levels are high and people need to be careful because the monsoon patterns are changing. At this moment, the rains across Pakistan are 87 per cent more than the average downpour.”

In Balochistan, the rains were 274pc more than the average rainfall, while Sindh’s were at 261pc, which the minister stressed was “alarming”.

“This is the beginning and we need to prepare for it,” she said, adding that the climate change ministry had issued alerts instructing provinces to clean their nullahs.

“This is definitely a national disaster for me, especially when so many people are losing their lives. This is not a small thing and the state has to give special attention to it.”

Rehman explained that pre-monsoon rains came in earlier than expected this year. For this purpose, the ministry and NDMA had prepared a contingency plan. “But all the provinces have to chalk out their relief plans and reach out to the federal government if need aid or help.”

She stated that the Met office and disaster management authorities were issuing advisories on a daily basis. But, she underscored, they need to be taken “seriously” by the authorities. “This is the sixth day and we need to be vigilant.”

The government, Rehman added, was active but she highlighted that the public should also play their role to protect themselves and their livestock during the inclement weather, especially those living in low-lying areas.