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Floods in Pakistan Killed At Least 1000 People

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Flooding in Pakistan from the highest rainfall in more than three decades has killed at least 1,000 people since June and caused more than $10 billion worth of damage. The extreme weather event, which follows some of the highest recorded temperatures across South Asia, is a “climate catastrophe,” Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s federal Minister for Climate Change, said in a news interview posted on her Twitter feed. “Many districts are beginning to look like they’re part of the ocean,” Rehman told German broadcaster DW News. “Our helicopter sorties are not finding dry land to drop rations.” With more than 30 million people affected across Pakistan — the world’s fifth-most populous nation — the navy has been deployed for the first time, she added.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said there was no immediate assessment of how badly the various sectors of the economy had been affected and the damage may exceed his $10 billion figure, local newspaper The News International reported. “I have no money but hopefully some way out will be found,” Ismail told reporters Monday. “Pakistan is drowning. There has been so much damage everywhere.” Pakistan will allow duty-free imports of vegetables to curb a price hike in the domestic market because of the floods and consider opening a temporary land route with India for the purpose, according to the minister. Pakistan has permitted trade temporarily with its neighbor in the past.

The natural disaster comes as the government is faced with one of Asia’s fastest inflation rates and is attempting to end a dollar shortage. The International Monetary Fund meets later on Monday and is expected to resume a $6 billion loan program. It’s also given former premier Imran Khan more political space as he pressures Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government to dissolve parliament and hold fresh elections. On Monday evening, he’s hosting a telethon to raise funds for flood victims from his support base in the country and among the Pakistani exptriates. Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, has approached a court for permission to telecast the telethon live, according to local media reports. Khan has held such events in the past, flanked by celebrities working the phones. The former cricket star reminded his followers that his fight against the government will not stop. Sharif’s administration has been looking at ways to ban Khan’s party.

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