PAKISTAN FLOODING Pakistan's army has deployed about 60,000 troops for rescue and relief operations out of a force of about 550,000 soldiers. Doctors say that malaria, diarrhea and gastroenteritis are growing threats. More than 1,600 people are estimated to have been killed in the disaster, and out of 14 million severely affected, as many as 6 million will require longer term assistance.
The scale of the devastation is difficult to comprehend: All 41 bridges in Upper Dir district and more than 60 bridges in Swat district have been destroyed, and seven major landslides are blocking access by road to flood-stricken areas of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Road access to some areas in the north-west has only just been restored, while some areas of the north-east remain completely inaccessible.
As much as 50 percent of the country has been inundated, with widespread loss of crops. In some areas 80 percent of farm livestock have been lost. Floodwaters that receded from the north have now caused widespread flooding in the more populous southern provinces.
And heavy rain continues to fall. The relief effort cannot yet keep pace with the increasing scope of the emergency. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit flood-hit Pakistan over the weekend and Sen. John Kerry is expected to visit next week.
Rain is continuing to fall in some parts of the country today, with dams threatened in Sindh and the monsoons not due to end for several weeks. To date, U.S. has provided $76 million in assistance to flood-affected populations in Pakistan via UN agencies, the ICRC and NGOs.
Three children were injured in Dera Ismail Khan by an explosive device that is believed to have moved in floodwaters, and another person was seriously injured by a landmine in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The Pashto and Urdu media are cooperating in an effort to remind weapon-contaminated communities, and those downstream of them, of the risk posed by mines and other explosive devices moving in floodwaters.
A new landslides in flood-ravaged Gansu province, making rescue work nearly impossible. Xinhua News Agency says 14 people have been killed and another 20 are missing after the overnight flood. That comes on top of the more than 1,100 dead and 600 missing from earlier mudslides. Tents set up as emergency shelters are being flooded. Clean drinking water is a primary concern, with most local sources knocked out or polluted. Mudslides also hit parts of Sichuan province in China's southwest. Xinhua reports five people have been killed there and 500 are stranded in rural mountain areas. Flooding has killed more than 2,000 people in China so far this year.
INDIAN FLOODING AFP reports the Indian army said it had evacuated another 172 foreigners stranded for a week by flash floods that hit the remote, high-altitude trekking region of Ladakh in the Indian Himalaya.