Death toll from Pakistan floods nears 1000

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Aug. 27 (UPI) — The death toll from catastrophic flooding in Pakistan has risen to nearly 1,000 since June, officials said Saturday.

More than 33 million people have also been displaced from flash floods triggered by destructive monsoon rains. On Friday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asked for international help in battling the flood damage, the Guardian reported.

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Rescuers have struggled to evacuate people as many parts of Pakistan have become inaccessible. Videos posted on Twitter showed dams and buildings collapsing into the rushing waters.

In the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three people were killed and the flooding destroyed 15 bridges and more than 100 houses.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that the UN planned a $160 million appeal for donations starting on Aug. 30.

Against the backdrop of the flooding, former Prime Minister Imran Khan had planned a rally in the Punjab province. In April Khan was ousted from power after a vote of no confidence. He has been demanding fresh elections and criticized the military and the west for helping his ouster. Khan has been attacked for refusing to collect funds for flood relief during his visits.

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Khalil Roonjha, a social activist who has been leading flood relief activities with volunteers, told the Guardian that Khan needed to put politics aside.

“Khan is a national figure. He should come ahead, raise funds and help people across Pakistan, not only where he rules. He must stop politicizing everything for a while.”