Time is running out for families in Sindh

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A third of the country has been found under water

People in southern Pakistan face even more disaster after record floods blamed on climate change submerged a third of the country, killing more than 1,100 people.

A surge of water is now flowing into the Indus River, threatening communities in the southern province of Sindh.

Local officials say 1.2 million people have been displaced in Sindh’s Dadu district, where hundreds of villages are submerged – and there is still more water.

Mudslides and floodwaters are coming down from the mountains to villages in this area.

The army is evacuating the stranded by plane and many others by boat. Thousands more are still in the flood’s path and need to be moved – but there is not much time.

An official involved in operations on the ground tells me they have been working in the area for a month.

“More water is coming, we’re starting to see it. There’s too much need, not enough, but we’re doing the best we can,” he tells me before climbing into a large boat.

Map showing damage caused by monsoon rains

Map showing damage caused by monsoon rains

It can take hours in the water as the villages are far from each other.

In Khairpur Nathanshah, the army, aid workers and villagers all struggle to get people to escape when we join them on a boat.

After some time in the water, we come across a village, where dozens of people are standing outside their flooded houses.

Dozens board, but not all can be saved on this journey and the boats will have to return. For a man, the uncertainty that help will return is unbearable.

Villagers who have lost their homes

Villagers who have lost their homes

“I left my family back in the village because I have to go find food. But I don’t know when the next boat will arrive and when I can go back to them,” says Perviz Ali, his voice shaking. before it breaks.

On the way back to land, we meet more people and stop to help them. The group of four men had been wandering the water for hours – three boats had passed them in a hurry to reach more villages. For one of them, it was a very long wait.

“Our friend Ghulam drowned moments before you arrived, slipped and drifted away. We could not save him. He is gone,” said one of them, Zahid Hussain.

I ask Mr. Hussain what made him decide to leave.

“The water level was as high as my head in my house, I knew if I didn’t leave now, I would drown.”

In another part of Dadu, on the roadside, families don’t even have tents or any kind of shelter. For many, this has been the case for weeks, living in the open with nothing.

“Our children are starving, we are not getting help. Why is no one doing anything? We have lost everything, why is no one helping?” says Rafiq, a mother of three children, all under the age of six.

The child is evacuated

The child is evacuated

These families tell me that of course they are heartbroken over what happened to them, but the grief turns to anger that their situation is not changing. They feel helpless and frustrated with the authorities they drive by every day.

Not far from Rafiq, Shambana hugs a one-month-old baby, born just before the floods reached her village. She is hungry, but so is her mother and she is unable to breastfeed little Rizaaq.

“I have no milk to give. I have been living here for two weeks – no one has even given anything. We struggle for food every day. No one has come to bring even milk for our babies. I am afraid for him,” says the woman.

The roads on either side of this district are treacherous – they have been damaged by the floods, causing hours of traffic queues.

Helping out here will be a mammoth task.

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