Most of the victims are from Punjab and Sindh, the two largest provinces considered the backbone of Pakistan's agrarian economy.

Kamran Zia, Spokesman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said that more than half of affected people were evacuated as part of preventive measures to save them from floods.

"So far 178 people have been killed and over 1.5 million displaced but there is no need to panic as the situation is well under control," Zia said.

He said thousands of people settled in the traditional river beds and most vulnerable to raging waters had been moved to safer places. "More than 18,000 of them are living in relief camps while others have decided to take up shelters with their relatives," he said.

He said more than 850 people have been injured and over 5,600 villages inundated across the country. The NDMA spokesman said that officials are keeping 24-hour vigil at the rivers and weather patterns and are fully prepared to deal with the situation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also visited the flood-hit areas in Sindh on Sunday to review relief activities and asked authorities to speed up their work. The annual floods are caused by the monsoon system which brings heavy downpours in the entire South Asia.

Pakistani authorities have faced criticism for not doing enough to combat the hazards posed by seasonal rains washing away homes and farmland. Pakistan's worst floods in 2010 killed over 1,700 people and displaced more than 20 million.


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