Pakistan declares emergency

SUKKUR, Pakistan (AFP) — Heavy rain pounded parts of Pakistan Friday after the government declared an emergency to deal with monsoon flooding that it said had affected more than four million people.

The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent, but each year it also brings a wave of destruction.

The National Disaster Management Agency said Friday that more than 900 people had been killed this year — including 34 in the last 24 hours — as a result of the monsoon rains that began in June.

Officials said this year’s floods are comparable to 2010 — the worst on record — when over 2,000 people died and nearly a fifth of the country was under water.

“I have never seen such huge flooding because of rains in my life,” octogenarian farmer Rahim Bakhsh Brohi told AFP near Sukkur, in southern Sindh province.

Like thousands of others in rural Pakistan, Brohi was seeking shelter beside the national highway, as the elevated roads are among the few dry places in the endless landscapes of water.

The disaster agency said over 4.2 million people were “affected” by the flooding, with nearly 220,000 homes destroyed and half a million more badly damaged.

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