SEHWAN, Pakistan—Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday visited some of the flood-hit areas that cover as much as a third of the South Asian nation, where 18 more deaths took the toll from days of rain to 1,343.
As many as 33 million of a population of 220 million have been affected, officials estimate.
“You wouldn’t believe the scale of destruction there,” Sharif told media after a visit to the southern province of Sindh.
The government, which has boosted cash handouts for flood victims to 70 billion Pakistani rupees ($313.90 million), will buy 200,000 tents to house displaced families, he added.
The United Nations has called for $160 million in aid to help the flood victims.
Many of those affected are from Sindh, where Pakistan’s largest freshwater lake is close to bursting its banks, even after having been breached in an operation that displaced 100,000 people.
National disaster officials said eight children were among the dead in the last 24 hours. The floods were brought by heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan’s northern mountains.
The raging waters have swept away 1.6 million houses, 5,735 kilometers (3,564 miles) of transport links, 750,000 head of livestock, and swamped more than 2 million acres (809,370 hectares) of farmland.
Officials in Sindh expect the waters to recede in the next few days, said provincial government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab.
“Our strategy right now is to be prepared for wheat cultivation as soon as the water recedes,” he added.