Floods to recede only by month's end, says Pak Meteorological Department

Islamabad, Aug 19(ANI): Pakistan's Meteorological Department has said that the floodwaters, which have caused unprecedented devastation in the country, will not fully recede until the end of this month.

Senior meteorologist Arif Mahmood said that existing river torrents were still heading to major cities including Hyderabad and Sukkur, and could cause more floods.

However, he said that there is no heavy rains forecast this week.

"This is good news for aid agencies involved in the rescue and relief operations," The Daily Times quoted Mahmood, as saying.

The floods, triggered by torrential monsoon downpours just over three weeks ago, have claimed the lives of over 1,600 people and disrupted the lives of 20 million people, eight percent of the population.

The "worst national disaster in Pakistan's history" has wiped out entire villages, farmland and infrastructure, particularly in the northwestern region.

The floods first struck the western province of Baluchistan on July 22 before inundating the worst-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and then entering Punjab and Sindh.

The Pakistan Army is leading the relief effort by evacuating people, distributing drinking water, food, medical aid and repairing bridges and roads.

The United States, Germany, Australia and Saudi Arabia have all announced new pledges of aid, while Japan said it would send helicopters to help distribute food, water and medicine.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that it would redirect two billion dollars of existing and planned loans for reconstruction.

"We have to put every road and every bridge back into the shape where they should be," said Juan Miranda, ADB Central and West Asia Director General. (ANI)

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