An internationally supported study has found that recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan have caused more than $30 billion in damage and economic losses. He notes that early estimates may increase as the situation continues to evolve on the ground.
The Pakistani government conducted the post-disaster needs assessment in collaboration with the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Union, and announced the findings on Friday.
“Given Pakistan’s limited fiscal resources, significant international support and private investment will be essential for a comprehensive and resilient recovery,” the assessment said.
The housing, agriculture, livestock, transport and communications sectors suffered the worst damage in the impoverished South Asian nation of about 220 million people. Agricultural damage and losses will affect the foreign trade and services sectors, the study warns.
Seasonal monsoon rains, worsened by global climate change, have unleashed unprecedented deluge across Pakistan, affecting 33 million people and killing more than 1,730 since mid-June.
The floods soaked a third of the country at one point, damaging or sweeping away more than 2 million homes, killing 1.2 million livestock, damaging 13,000 kilometers of roads and displacing 8 million people, including 644,000 who lived in relief camps. The UN says that although the water has receded, 7% of the territory is still flooded.
“The situation continues to evolve, with stagnant floodwaters in many areas, causing the spread of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, and more than 8 million displaced people now facing a health crisis,” he says the study.
According to the report, Sindh province was the worst affected by the floods, accounting for nearly 70% of the total damage and loss, followed by Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces.
Loss of family income and assets, rising food prices and disease outbreaks are particularly affecting the poorest and most vulnerable districts.
“The national poverty rate may increase by 3.7 to 4 percentage points, potentially rising to 8.4 [million] and 9.1 million more people below the poverty line,” the study notes.
Estimates for rehabilitation and reconstruction are at least $16.3 billion, not including the reconstruction needs of private entities or any investment to help Pakistan adapt to climate change and become more resilient to future climate shocks.
After reviewing the scale of the disaster, the UN earlier this month increased its appeal for international humanitarian aid for Pakistan from $160 million to $816 million, fearing that an increase in transmitted diseases for water and food insecurity could pose new challenges for the impoverished country.
The world body says that as of this week, countries have pledged $110 million, or 23 percent, of the appeal.
The UN has warned that funding for food assistance may run out by the end of the year if more funds are not received, noting that nearly 15 million people will need emergency food assistance from December to March.
On Thursday, the United States pledged an additional $30 million in humanitarian aid to support flood victims, bringing Washington’s total disaster-related assistance to Islamabad this year to $97 million.