Flood-ravaged Pakistan has appealed to the international community for an “immense humanitarian response” to help the South Asian nation in its “hour of need” as the death toll surpassed 1,265 people from the current disaster.
“The scale of devastation is massive and requires an immense humanitarian response for 33 million people,” Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal told reporters on September 3.
“For this, I appeal to my fellow Pakistanis, Pakistan expatriates, and the international community to help Pakistan in this hour of need.”
Relentless monsoon rains and melting glaciers in northern mountains have brought floods that have affected 33 million people. Health officials said at least 57 people had died in the past 24 hours.
Officials said an estimated 441 children have been included in the overall death toll. The United Nations children's agency (UNICEF) said there was a risk of "many more" child deaths from disease after floods.
Nearly 30 planes carrying humanitarian aid have arrived in Pakistan, including at least nine flights from the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and others from Uzbekistan, China, Turkmenistan, Jordan, and Qatar, along with a train carrying aid supplies from Turkey, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.
A French aircraft transporting relief supplies arrived in Islamabad on September 3 and was met by Abdul Qadir Patel, the minister for national health services.
The U.S. military said on September 2 that it was preparing to join international relief efforts in Pakistan.
The U.S. Defense Department (DOD) said its Central Command “is sending an assessment team to Islamabad to determine what potential support DOD can provide...as part of the United States' assistance to the flooding crisis in Pakistan."
Spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said the decision followed a telephone call on September 1 between Central Command chief General Erik Kurilla and Pakistan's chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The Pentagon has long-standing ties with the Pakistani military, but relations between the nations often has turned rocky over a variety of issues, including U.S. claims of Islamabad’s harboring of militants operating in Afghanistan.
Two members of the U.S. Congress were expected to arrive in Pakistan on September 4 to visit the flood-affected areas and meet with officials.
Many international officials and experts have blamed the unprecedented level of monsoon rains and flooding on climate change, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said he will visit Pakistan on September 9.
The UN and Pakistan this week jointly issued an appeal for $160 million in emergency funding to help those affected by the floods.
Pakistani officials have said it will take at least $10 billion and many years for Pakistan to fully recover from the disaster.