Pakistan floods might have caused economic losses of over $40 billion, says minister
The country has received 190% more rain than its 30-year average between June and August.
The floods in Pakistan might have led to economic losses and damages of over $40 billion (over Rs 3.17 lakh crore), the country’s National Flood Response Coordination Centre said on Monday, , reported The Express Tribune.
The initial assessment of losses was $18 billion (more than Rs 1.43 lakh crore).
The new estimate was flagged in a flood response meeting during discussion on a report presented by the Ministry of Finance.
“The devastating conditions suggest that the scale of flood losses is in the range of $30 billion to over $40 billion,” Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, the chairperson of the flood response agency, told The Express Tribune.
Flash floods and landslides in Pakistan after months of heavy rains have displaced nearly 3.3 crore people in the country, which has a population of 23 crore.
The country has received 190% more rain than its 30-year average between June and August. The Sindh province in South East Pakistan, which accounts for around 25% of the country’s total agricultural produce, is the worst hit after getting 466% more rain than the 30-year average.
“We are going through the process of a comprehensive assessment of flood damages with the help of World Bank, Asian Development Bank, provincial and federal governments,” Iqbal told The Express Tribune on Monday.
The minister said that while a detailed report of the losses would take four to six weeks to compile, initial assessment would be finalised by end of this week.
He, however, clarified that this is the initial assessment by the finance ministry that was based on predictive analysis but the outcome still depends on what input was used. Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Pasha also backed the estimated but said that final figure would be available only after the government has complete data, according to The Express Tribune.
“NFRCC has directed the Ministry of Finance to withhold the release of its flood impact report,” Iqbal told the newspaper. “We will wait for the outcome of comprehensive assessment but damages are colossal and even more than $30 billion as suggested by the United Nations secretary general.”
Finding the the exact figure assumes importance as the International Monetary Fund will consider giving Pakistan relaxation in its $6.5 billion bailout programme on the basis of a credible assessment of losses.
Meanwhile, the report also said that the flood has disproportionately hit the poor and vulnerable segments of society. The floods will lead to a decline in the GDP that combined with other losses can push around 90 lakh to 1.2 crore more citizens into poverty.