Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Netanyahu says Gaza operation will not end quickly

Read more

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

#TECH 24

Internet of Things

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • France offers asylum to Iraqi Christians

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al-Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

  • Luc Besson’s sci-fi thriller ‘Lucy’ tops US box office

    Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Floods have put Pakistan back ‘several years’ says Gilani

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-09

Pakistan's navy has mobilised to aid people after the worst floods in 80 years have overwhelmed the civilian government. "Our country has gone back several years," Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said during a visit to Sindh province.

REUTERS - Pakistani navy boats travelled along kilometres of flood waters on Sunday to rescue people stranded in a disaster that has angered many over the government's response.
 
The worst floods in 80 years have killed over 1,600 people, left two million homeless, washed away crops and farm animals and overwhelmed President Asif Ali Zardari's civilian government.
 
The military, which has maintained a dominant role in foreign and security policy even during civilian rule, is leading Pakistani relief efforts, as it has done in past crises
like the 2005 earthquake.
 
Analysts do not expect the government's heavily criticised handling of the crisis to encourage the military, which has ruled for more than half of Pakistan's history, to try to seize power.


More homes and crops are likely to be swept away with heavy rain forecast to lash the country in the next 24 to 36 hours.
 
Rubber and wooden navy boats set out from areas in Sindh province, where flood waters burst from the Indus River across vast distances, to help Pakistanis who have watched safe ground shrink by the hour and waters swallow up their livestock.
 
"We have been doing this for several days," said navy officer Akhter Mahmood after his boat travelled through about 20 kilometres of flood water.
 
Women, chest-deep in water, carried chickens and clothes on their heads before entering navy boats. "I thought the waters would go away," said Sakina. "I want to come back."
 
Zardari drew fire for leaving the country for official visits in Europe during the crisis. He said the prime minister was handling the catastrophe  and informing him of developments.
 
Even though relief efforts may have improved the military's standing, and widened the perception that Pakistani civilian governments are too weak and inefficient to cope with disasters, analysts don't see any threat to the current administration.
 
The army is busy fighting Taliban insurgents and does not want to be strapped with Pakistan's enormous problems -- from costly rebuilding after the floods to the struggle to attract foreign investment in a troubled economy to widespread poverty.
 


"I don't think they are willing to dump Zardari," said Kamran Bokhari, Regional Director, Middle East and South Asia at global intelligence firm STRATFOR.
 
"The current army leadership ... is very clear that there is a war that needs to be waged."
 
Foreign aid organisations, also playing a much bigger role than the government, say weather has hampered relief efforts.
 
Floodwaters have roared down from the northwest to the agriculture heartland of Punjab and on to southern Sindh along a trail more than 1,000 km (600 miles) long.
 
The flooding, brought on by unusually strong monsoon rains, has destroyed 360,000 houses, aid groups say.
 
"I would say shelter is the biggest concern at the moment. It is the most urgent," said Maurizio Giuliano, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. "People do need something on top their heads as soon as possible."
 
In some areas, only the tops of trees and telephone poles are visible. Pakistanis are stuck on the rooftops of their homes. Some fighting to hold on to anything they can walk waist-deep in muddy water carrying logs from their shattered homes.
 
Even before the floods, Pakistan was struggling to tame inflation that averaged 11.7 percent for the last fiscal year. In Swat Valley, one of the hardest hit areas, tomato prices have jumped from 40 rupees a kg to 140 since the floods hit.
 
"Our country has gone back several years," Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told reporters on a visit to Sindh province.
 
In Punjab, hundreds of people were evacuated from drenched areas to a railway track on higher ground.
 
"What we are wearing is all that we have, the rest is all gone -- our house, animals, wheat we had stored, everything has been destroyed," university student Fiza Batool said as she fed her 10-year-old sister biscuits.

Date created : 2010-08-08

  • PAKISTAN

    Death toll tops 1,200 as rescuers struggle to reach flood victims

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Islamists fill aid vacuum while government struggles

    Read more

  • ON THE OBSERVERS

    Pakistan authorities ‘failed to prevent flood crisis’

    Read more

COMMENT(S)