ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's disaster management agency said Thursday it had evacuated thousands of people stranded in parts of the country's south after it was hit by floods, as the military air-dropped rations and civil authorities sent truckloads of supplies to the regions where waters were receding after wreaking havoc.
"Rescue crews are working round the clock to rescue people and ensure the provision of food and other supplies to flood-affected persons even in the remote villages," said Ahmad Kamal, the spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency.
He said the floods entered southern Sindh province Wednesday, making thousands of people homeless.
"The flood water has receded in various parts of Pakistan, and experts from the government are assessing damages," he said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a series of visits to flooded areas promised that his government would rebuild homes, while damaged roads and other infrastructure would be restored by utilizing all resources. So far, Pakistan has not issued any international appeal for the flood victims.
Heavy monsoon floods, which began Sept. 3 in Kashmir, have so far killed 523 people and affected 2 million in Pakistan and Indian-controlled Kashmir. Of those, 200 died in the India-controlled part of the Himalayan region, 64 in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, as many as 246 people perished across Pakistan. Another 13 were killed in the northern Gilgit and Baltistan province.
Kamal said no deaths had been reported in southern Pakistan, where a major flooding was to hit two main districts this weekend.
A statement issued by the disaster management agency said Thursday that 19 army helicopters and 574 boats were participating in the rescue and relief operations in flood-hit regions across Pakistan. It said floods affected more than 1.7 million people in Pakistan and rescuers so far had evacuated 630,404 people.
It said doctors treated 220,011 patients in the flood affected areas.
Medical teams were also treating patients Indian-controlled Kashmir, where doctors Wednesday said they saw outbreaks of gastroenteritis among people crowded into shelters after their homes were inundated two weeks ago.
Patients were also dying due to a lack of basic medical equipment, Dr. Tariq Ahmed Tramboo said.
Many hospitals were engulfed when the floods swamped more than 80 percent of Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city of Srinagar two weeks ago.
Associated Press Writer Nirmala George in New Delhi contributed to this report.