Pakistan floods affect nearly 1 million–officials

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Volunteers of Pakistani religious group of Jamaat-ud-Dawwa help stranded villagers to move to safer ground in suburbs of Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013. Hundreds of villages were submerged and acres of crop land were destroyed due to high floods in rivers. According to government officials, dozens of people have died and over 100,000 people have been affected by flood-related accidents this month, mainly in urban areas. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary

ISLAMABAD — Heavy monsoon rains triggering floods have affected nearly one million people and killed 139 others across Pakistan in the last three weeks, disaster management officials said Wednesday.

“The rains affected 931,074 people, killed at least 139 and wounded 804 others,” a senior National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) official told AFP.

He said that the rains had hit 3,826 villages and destroyed 13,262 houses all over the country.

Around 243 relief camps have been set up to help people, mostly in the central province of Punjab, the southern province of Sindh and the southwestern province of Baluchistan, the official said.

Further heavy monsoon rains are expected in Pakistan next month, but the NDMA is fully prepared for any eventuality, he said.

Pakistan, which has suffered from monsoon floods for the last three years, has been criticized for not doing more to mitigate against the dangers posed by seasonal rains washing away homes and farmland.

Streets in all major cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad suffer intermittent flooding due to downpours, damaging roads and private homes.

In 2010, the worst floods in the country’s history killed almost 1,800 people and affected 21 million.

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