Islamabad: Flood waters surged through many parts of Pakistan's southern Sindh province on Tuesday following unprecedented rains over the past 10 days, with the deluge claiming over 200 lives and affecting an estimated 5.3 million people.
   
Torrential rains have lashed many parts of the province for over a week, causing water levels to rise in many districts and impeding rescue and relief operations.
   
The National Disaster Management Authority said the floods had affected 23 districts of Sindh and submerged some 4.5 million acres.
   
A total of 218 people had died while 495 were injured, NDMA Chief Zafar Qadir said while briefing a special meeting of representatives of foreign missions and international organisations organised on Monday by the Foreign Office to mobilise aid for the flood victims.
   
Crops spread over 1.7 million acres have been damaged and about 1.2 million homes have been washed away by flood waters.    

The Sindh government says an estimated 280,000 people are sheltering in 2,000 relief camps.
   
"While the government had mobilised all national resources, the severity and magnitude of the floods had created a humanitarian emergency requiring support from the international community," the Foreign Office said in a statement.
   
Qamar Zaman Kaira, a member of the Prime Minister's Flood Relief Committee, said the nature of this year's floods was more dangerous than those in 2010 caused by unprecedented rainfall.
   
In the next stage, rehabilitation aid will be required, including for infrastructure, rebuilding destroyed houses and means of livelihood, he said.
   
Relief organisations say winter shelter, medicines, sanitation equipment and support for restoring basic health and education services will be priorities in the weeks ahead.
   
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have made special appeals to the world community and the UN to provide urgently needed aid for the flood victims but China and Iran are among the few countries that have pledged assistance so far.
   
The army and the government have been spearheading relief efforts, with few NGOs or international agencies providing any assistance.

(Agencies)