Islamabad: The cataclysmic floods in Pakistan has caused economic damages to the tune of around USD 18 billion to the country’s teetering economy, wiping out more than 8 million acres of crops and displacing more than 33 million, media reports said on Friday.
Record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains brought floods that have killed at least 36 people in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 1,391 as of Friday, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.
The rapid assessment cost on projected economic losses following Pakistan’s worst food floods as calculated by the government and endorsed by the provinces has gone up further to the tune of around USD 18 billion, according to The News International newspaper.
The devastating floods have inundated a third of the country, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif saying on Wednesday that parts of Pakistan “seemed like a sea.”
The losses further swelled because agricultural crops have been destroyed across 8.25 million acres as compared to an initial assessment of 4.2 million acres, the report said.
Cotton, rice, and minor crops have been damaged severely and if de-watering is not done properly, it can cause serious issues for wheat sowing, it said. Pakistan’s Ministry of National Food Security has been assigned to finalise a summary to increase the minimum support price of wheat, the report said.
The authorities have held meetings with international donors and assured them that Pakistan would place an effective monitoring and evaluation system to utilise each and every penny to mitigate the losses incurred due to the floods in a transparent manner, the report said.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning will slash the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) by upto PKR 300 billion for the current fiscal year, the report said.
These resources will be diverted toward the flood-affected areas, it added.
As the floods continue to wreak havoc, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said earlier this week that the government will consider importing vegetables, and other edible items from India.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said on Friday that flood-stricken Pakistan’s contribution to the climate crisis was minimal but it was one of the countries most affected by its consequences, underlining that such calamities should attack those more responsible for climate change.
Secretary-General Guterres made the remarks during a visit along with Prime Minister Sharif to National Flood Response and Coordination Centre in Islamabad where he was given a detailed briefing about the flood situation and rescue and relief activities in the affected areas.
Guterres is currently in Pakistan on a two-day solidarity visit.
The UN chief’s visit to the flood-ravaged country comes less than two weeks after he appealed for USD 160 million in emergency funding.
Pakistan is expected to grow at a paltry 2.3 per cent as per the government’s estimates, even though the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives have set a target of an ambitious 5 per cent in June.