Late monsoon rains earlier this month hit the mountainous areas of Gilgit-Balitstan and Pakistani-administered Kashmir, unleashing a torrent of water flowing into Punjab’s agricultural heartlands. Swollen rivers breached flood defences, sweeping away thousands of villages as the “super-flood” surged south, wreaking havoc throughout Punjab, the country’s most populous province.
The government’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) says 312 people have died, with 2,275,000 affected and nearly 1.7 million acres (687,965 hectares) of crops lost. Punjab Province declared a state of emergency as the flood spread through central areas, with Jhang District hit hardest.
At a distribution by the Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in the government high school at Vanike Tarar, where 250 households received food rations, Sher Muhammad, 85, looked on with a sense of bewilderment: “I have not seen such a flood, not since around the time of partition .”
Backed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), PRCS has been one of the first organisations to respond, working across eight of the 10 districts affected in Punjab. Muhammad Saleem, PRCS Punjab secretary, said: “We are aiming to provide food to those worst-affected in the days ahead, initially for 13,000 families.”...