Islamabad: The losses from the catastrophic monsoon rains and floods in Pakistan, the war in Ukraine and other factors may force it to slash its GDP growth rate for the financial year 2022-23 from 5% to 3%, media reported.
Chairman of the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre, Major General Zafar Iqbal, during the joint briefing for PM Shehbaz Sharif and UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, said at least one-third of Pakistan was inundated, while the overall damages would amount to over $30 billion. The Pak agency quoted Iqbal as saying that Pakistan expected a 2% cut in the Gross Domestic Product growth figure due to a combination of crises, chief among which were the floods, the delayed approval of IMF funds, and the economic situation emerging in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reported that the death toll from the deadly floods had climbed to 1,396. Guterresis also visited the flood-hit areas in Sindh and Balochistan provinces to review the ongoing rescue and relief efforts and the damages caused by the calamity.
Pak looks ‘like a sea’
Parts of Pakistan seemed "like a sea", Shehbaz Sharif said, after visiting some of the flood-hit areas that cover as much as a third of the South Asian nation, where 18 more deaths took the toll from days of rain to 1,343.
As many as 33 million of a population of 220 million have been affected in a disaster blamed on climate change that has left hundreds of thousands homeless and caused losses of at least $10 billion, officials estimate. "You wouldn't believe the scale of destruction there," Sharif told media after a visit to the southern province of Sindh. "It is water everywhere as far as you could see. It is just like a sea. "
The government, which has boosted cash handouts for flood victims to 70 billion Pakistani rupees ($313. 90 million), will buy 200,000 tents to house displaced families, he added. Receding waters threaten a new challenge in the form of water-born infectious diseases, Sharif said.
More US aid arrives
Two more US military planes loaded with tonnes of aid for Pakistanis affected by flooding landed Sunday in southern Sindh province. Saif Ullah, spokesman for the country’s civil aviation authority, said each plane was loaded with about 35 tonnes of relief aid that would be distributed in the province by the World Food Program.