20 million feel pain of Pakistan floods

Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistan marked its 63rd birthday Saturday in the solemnity befitting a nation one-fifth under water.

That’s how much of the south Asian country — an area the size of Florida — has flooded in relentless monsoon rains, the United Nations says. Nearly 1,400 people have died and 875,000 homes have washed away or are damaged, the Pakistan Disaster Authority says.

What’s worse is that millions more are still at peril as the bloated Indus River is cresting this weekend in parts of Sindh province. In some areas, the Indus has fattened from its normal width of a mile to 12 miles.

Homes, crops, trees, livestock, entire villages and towns have been transformed into vast lakes. The worst floods since Pakistan’s creation have disrupted the lives of about 20 million people, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said Saturday.

Surrounded by a tragedy of epic proportions, Pakistanis canceled Saturday’s celebrations of independence, hard won from the British in 1947. They might have otherwise attended parades, burst firecrackers and waved the green and white flag proudly.

Instead, President Asif Ali Zardari, under fire for a perceived lack of government response, toured flood-ravaged Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the north, where the crisis began more than two weeks ago. He urged Pakistanis to remember the afflicted. Read more: CNN

Related posts:

Flood’s estimated toll in Pakistan: 1,500 dead, 4 million affected

Pakistan flood death toll ‘passes 1,100′

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