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Pakistan: Floods - Jul 2010

Disaster types

July 2010 marked a particularly tragic period in Pakistan’s history. In the north, three days of unstoppable rain caused the Indus River to swell, creating a massive body of water that moved from the Himalayas, southwards to the Arabian Sea. The disaster became more destructive than the Haiti earthquake and the Japan tsunami combined. (PHF 31 July 2011)

The monsoon rains that lashed Pakistan from the end of July through August 2010 caused the country’s worst flooding since 1929. The northwest of the country, particularly the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was the first area to be affected. The situation deteriorated with the passing weeks as flooding spread to two other major food-producing provinces, the Punjab and Sindh, both densely populated, in August and September. (HI 20 July 2011)

Out of a population of 168 million, at least 20 million people were affected by the floods, losing their homes and livelihoods, mainly across the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh. The floods also affected people in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Pakistan-Administered-Kashmir. More than 1700 people died, more than 7 million were left homeless and at least 1.8 million homes were destroyed. Over 2.4 million hectares of standing crops were submerged, and 450,000 heads of livestock lost. (PHF 31 July 2011)

Within a period of one and a half months, 78 districts out of Pakistan’s 141 districts were affected, and as of 24 October 2010, the government’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) reported that there had been 1,985 deaths and 2,946 people injured by the floods. Out of the estimated 22.2 million hectares of agricultural land, almost two million hectares were destroyed in the floods, threatening severe food shortages in the coming months. More than 400 hospitals and health clinics were damaged or destroyed, as well as education facilities, power and transmission lines, telecommunication networks and industrial infrastructure. (IFRC 2 Nov 2013)


In Punjab, the breadbasket of Pakistan, experienced a combination of flash floods in the mountains and highly destructive river flooding in agricultural areas. An estimated six million people were affected across eleven districts. More than 500,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. And more than 1.85 million acres of arable land was washed away. The most severely affected districts were: Muzzafargarh, Rajanpur, Mianwali, R.I. Khan, Layyah, D.G. Khan, and Bhakkar


The direct impact of the floods has been the most protracted in Sindh. Close to half of the rural population was affected, with millions evacuated or forced to flee. At the peak of the crisis vast swathes of the province were left underwater, critical because the majority of the people rely on agriculture for their survival. More than seven million people were affected and more than 875,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. More than 2.5 million acres of arable land was submerged, resulting in a problem with nutrition, especially among the young. In March 2011, more than 100,000 people were still in camps or settlements. The most severely affected districts were: Kashmore, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Larkana, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Thatta, Dadu, and Jamshoro. (PHF 31 July 2011)

Monsoon rains and flooding in 2011 and 2012

In 2011, from mid-August to early September 2011, monsoon rains and flooding throughout Sindh Province and five districts in Balochistan Province affected an estimated 5.8 million people, approximately 3 million of whom are ―highly affected, according to a joint U.N.–Government of Pakistan (GoP) rapid assessment. As of October 3, flooding had resulted in more than 400 deaths and injured more than 750 individuals, according to the Government of Pakistan (GoP) National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). (USAID 3 Oct 2011)

The U.N. and GoP have since prioritized eight districts in Sindh Province: Badin, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazir Abad, Tando Allahyar, Tando Mohammad Khan, Tharparkar, and Umerkot. (USAID 11 Oct 2011)

More than 820,000 people fled to temporary settlements, where overcrowding and limited access to basic services increase the risk of disease spread. In addition, heavy rainfall caused water to breach river banks and irrigation canals, destroying up to 1.6 million houses and more than 2.1 million acres of agricultural land, according to the GoP National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The 2011 floods occurred as Pakistanis continued to recover from the 2010 monsoon floods that affected approximately 18 million people countrywide. Families continue to rebuild homes and restore livelihoods more than a year after last year’s disaster—one of the worst in Pakistan’s history. (USAID, 19 Oct 2011).

In 2012, starting late in August, heavy monsoon rains were again experienced in the provinces of Sindh, KP, Punjab, Baluchistan and GB, affecting five million people, compounding effects in areas already affected during the 2010 and 2011 flooding. (IFRC 2 Nov 2013) At the end of 2012, thousands of families in flood affected areas of Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab remained in need of humanitarian assistance. (OCHA, 17 Dec 2012)