LAHORE: More than 14,000 people and their cattle were evacuated from villages in eastern Pakistan, authorities said today, following the arrival of monsoon rains across South Asia.
The summer monsoon brings South Asia 70-80% of its annual rainfall between June and September and is vital for the livelihoods of millions of farmers in a region of around two billion people.
But it also brings landslides and floods, and scientists have said climate change is making seasonal rains heavier and more unpredictable.
Rising water levels inundated at least 15 riverside villages and submerged large swathes of agricultural land, destroying crops such as corn, in Kasur district, close to the city of Lahore in Pakistan’s most populous province of Punjab.
“We had been warned that there could be a flood. But it all happened very suddenly,” villager Ashfaq Bhatti told AFP.
“My family all made it out in time, but we have lost our livelihood. All our crops are now sitting underwater.”
The provincial disaster management agency said people were being evacuated to 11 relief sites.
It said the floods were worsened by India’s decision to release more water into downstream areas in Pakistan after torrential monsoon rains that killed more than 90 people.
“We want to go home and start fixing the damage. But they keep telling us that more rains are coming,” Muhammad Farooq, another villager who had been evacuated, told AFP.
At least 50 people have died in weather-related incidents across Pakistan since the end of June.
Pakistan is struggling to recover from the devastating floods that inundated nearly one-third of the country in 2022, affecting more than 33 million people.