UAE opens air bridge to send humanitarian aid to Pakistan

Pakistan's government has declared a state of emergency and called for international assistance

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The UAE has begun operating an air bridge to transport humanitarian aid to those affected by the monsoon flooding in Pakistan.

The death toll has reached 1,061 since June, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said on Monday, with 28 more people having died in the past 24 hours.

The crisis has forced the government to declare a state of emergency, mobilise the army for relief efforts and call for international assistance.

Villages with weak infrastructure from the Sindh province to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have been affected so far, with rescue teams struggling to access many areas.

The UAE's Ministry of Defence, represented by the Joint Operations Command, is overseeing the delivery of relief aid from the Emirates, which includes shelter materials, humanitarian needs, food and medical parcels.

Hamad Obaid Al Zaabi, the UAE's ambassador to Pakistan, said the first Emirati relief aid plane flew on Monday morning to Pakistan and will be followed by several more in the coming days to provide support.

The aid is being delivered following directives issued by President Sheikh Mohamed to provide all forms of support to Pakistan.

Mr Al Zaabi said the provision of aid underlines the strength of relations between the two countries.

On Saturday, Sheikh Mohamed ordered 3,000 tonnes of food supplies and other humanitarian aid to be delivered to Pakistan.

The UAE aid includes about 3,000 tonnes of food supplies, medical and pharmaceutical items, and tents and shelter materials.

Teams from the UAE will also provide humanitarian support.

The death toll is likely to rise because hundreds of villages in the mountainous north have been cut off by flood-swollen rivers washing away roads and bridges, AFP reported.

The annual monsoon is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent but it also brings destruction.

Officials say this year's flooding has affected more than 33 million people — one in seven Pakistanis — destroying or badly damaging nearly a million homes.

The NDMA said more than two million acres of cultivated crops had been wiped out, with 3,457 kilometres of roads destroyed and 157 bridges washed away.

Pakistan flood's death toll rises — in pictures

Updated: August 29, 2022, 11:35 AM
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