Queen says she ‘is deeply saddened’ by tragic Pakistan floods and ‘the UK stands in solidarity as you recover from these terrible events’
- Monarch, 96, wrote she is ‘deeply saddened’ by floods that have killed thousands
- In a letter signed Elizabeth R., Queen said UK ‘stands in solidarity’ with Pakistan
- South Asian country has seen tens of millions displaced amid catastrophe
- The Queen is currently at Balmoral, where next PM will visit her to be sworn in
The Queen said she is ‘deeply saddened’ by flooding in Pakistan which has killed more than 1,000 people and forced tens of millions from their homes.
In a letter to the Commonwealth country’s president this morning signed Elizabeth R., the monarch, 96, stated that the UK ‘stands in solidarity’ with Pakistan.
She wrote: ‘I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life and destruction caused by the floods across Pakistan.
‘My thoughts are with all those who have been affected, as well as those working in difficult circumstances to support the recovery efforts.
In a letter to the country’s president, the Queen said the UK ‘stands in solidarity’ with Pakistan amid calamitous flooding which has killed thousands
A group of boys make their way across a makeshift wooden pathway as floodwaters swell
Pakistani president Arif Alvi (right) is pictured with Prince William (left) during a visit in 2019
‘The United Kingdom stands in solidarity with Pakistan as you recover from these terrible events.’
The Queen has visited Pakistan twice during her reign, in 1961 and 1997. On both occasions she was accompanied by Prince Philip.
Her moving message came as Pakistan’s foreign minister said the calamitous floods are ‘a catastrophe on a scale that I have never seen’.
She is currently staying at her Balmoral home in Scotland, where the UK’s next prime minister is expected to visit her to be sworn in.
The death toll in Pakistan today soared above 1,000 and an area the size of Britain faced going underwater.
Tens of millions of Pakistanis have been forced to flee their homes as entire villages have vanished, with dramatic footage capturing hotel collapses, helicopter rescues and narrow escapes.
Foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said this morning from his home in flood-ravaged province Sindh, south-eastern Pakistan: ‘Around me is just water, water and more water. There’s not much dry land to be found.
‘We’ve suffered a devastating monsoon [with] floods from the sky that have been going on since the end of June.
‘It is a catastrophe on a scale that I have never seen before’, he told the BBC.
More than 20 of the 30 districts in the affected province, which is home to nearly 48 million people, have been declared ‘calamity-hit’, he added.
And 33 million households have been displaced or affected by the environmental disaster – well over the 20 million people forced to move during the 1947 Partition, Mr Zardari said.
Residents gather beside a road damaged by flood waters today following heavy monsoon rains in Charsadda overnight
One family are pictured being taken to a safer place by boat after massive flooding in their village overnight on Sunday
He added: ‘We’ve experienced floods and monsoons before but this has really engulfed us all.’
The death toll this morning reached 1,061, including 28 deaths in the past 24 hours, the National Disaster Management Authority said. They said 119 died on Saturday.
Environment minister Sherry Rehman yesterday described the deadly two-month monsoon season as ‘a serious climate catastrophe’, while army chiefs called the destruction ‘unprecedented.’
Ms Rehman added: ‘We could well have one fourth or one-third of Pakistan under water’.
Prime minister Shahbaz Sharif also blamed ‘the horrors of climate change’ in a tweet over the weekend.
Yet although politicians have been eager to blame environmental changes for the sheer scale of wreckage and displacement, residents have cited lax construction laws and state corruption.
Local governments allowed developers to build hotels on the Kunhar river bank, cutting off natural river routes and redirecting floodwater straight into villages.
A resident in market Kaghan told the BBC: ‘These hotels and markets blocked the natural waterways, and so we are witnessing much bigger losses due to the floods which could have been avoided easily.’
A lone man makes his way to emergency supplies on his way out of the Charsadda district of the Khyber region this morning
Desperate residents in Hyderabad, southern Pakistan jostle to receive emergency army supplies after flash flooding
Incredible video shot from afar shows a Pakistani army helicopter duck down just above the roaring flood to rescue stranded people staying above the water’s surface on a rock. The army said it rescued 22 people yesterday alone
Flash flooding from the heavy rains washed away villages and crops as soldiers and rescue workers evacuated stranded residents to the safety of relief camps. Displaced people are pictured at one such site in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa earlier today
Flash flooding from the heavy rains washed away villages and crops as soldiers and rescue workers evacuated stranded residents to the safety of relief camps and provided food to thousands of displaced Pakistanis.
Footage showed a daring helicopter rescue conducted by the army to save stranded people from what appeared to be a certain death.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN’s disaster body, said that 184,000 people had been confirmed displaced — a figure expected to rise in the coming days.
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