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Thousands of people who live in areas under threat of flooding in Pakistan have been told to evacuate.

Aid agencies say floods have led to one of the country’s worst disasters as the heaviest monsoon rains in decades continue.

Nearly 1,000 people have died since June, while thousands have been displaced and millions more affected.

The government has been forced to declare a state of emergency in some parts of the country.

Southern Pakistan has been hardest hit by the rains – particularly Sindh province, which has received nearly eight times its average August rainfall.

But many rivers also burst their banks in the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

“Initially some people refused to leave, but when the water level increased, they agreed,” Bilal Faizi, spokesman for the Rescue 1122 emergency service, told the AFP news agency.

Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb said soldiers and rescue organisations were helping people to reach safety in many districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, as well as in the eastern Punjab and south-western Baluchistan provinces, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The country director for aid agency Islamic Relief Worldwide, Asif Sherazi, told the BBC about the scale of the problem.

“During my whole trip, there was a continuous rain and the rain was continuously destroying more and more infrastructure, that included the houses of the people, livelihood assets as well as the public infrastructure, bridges, roads. So it’s destruction everywhere,” he said.

On Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said 33 million people had been hit by the floods – about 15% of the population.

He said the losses caused by floods this season were comparable to those during the floods of 2010-11, said to be the worst on record.

The country has appealed for more international aid. Officials blame the devastation on man-made climate change.

“In Sindh alone, we had rain, 780% more rain than average, in Balochistan, 496% more rain than average. So we are of course looking at a very challenging situation, a daunting challenge, a climate catastrophe,” Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, told the BBC.

Since the summer season began, multiple monsoon cycles have lashed the country, destroying more than half a million homes across the country.

At least 184,000 people have been displaced to relief camps, the UN’s disaster relief agency, OCHA (Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) said on Thursday.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62699886

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