Pakistan says damage from floods has caused US$10 billion of damage

As Pakistan reels from weeks of unprecedented and devastating flash floods, it has  began to tally up the hits to its economy. The full extent of the damage remains to be seen, as authorities wait for water levels to recede.

Yet according to the country’s planning minister Ashan Iqbal, early estimates showed they were already deep in the red.

“I think it is going to be huge. So far, (a) very early, preliminary estimate is that it is big, it is higher than $10 billion (USD).”

“My hunch is that this is going to be two to three times higher than what we are estimating.”

Iqbal said almost half of the country’s cotton crops had been washed away by historic rains, a serious blow to a country whose textile sector makes up a majority of what it sells abroad.

Meanwhile, severe damage to other crops caused food prices to shoot up.

The floods also wiped out infrastructure around the country, including a major bridge in northern Pakistan, which wound up almost completely cut off from the rest of the country.

One resident Ali Jan described how quickly the situation turned dire.

“It was raining but not heavily. Suddenly the outer wall of the compound collapsed and water gushed in. We barely managed to save ourselves. By the time the women were leaving the house, the water had become almost waist-deep. We evacuated the women and the cattle. The rest is there for you to see. “

Many like Jan are now reckoning with the aftermath of what the country’s climate change minister called a ‘climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions’.

At least a thousand people have been killed in recent weeks, with more than 33 million people affected - over 15% of Pakistan’s population.

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