Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in an interview on Monday that the initial economic losses from floods in Pakistan could reach at least $10 billion.
Unprecedented and historical flash floods caused by abnormal monsoon rains have washed away roads, crops, infrastructure and bridges, killing at least 1,000 people in recent weeks and affecting more than 33 million.
“I think it is going to be huge. So far, (a) very early, preliminary estimate is that it is big, it is higher than $10 billion,” Iqbal said.
The minister said it might take five years to rebuild and rehabilitate the South Asian nation of 200 million people, which will be facing an acute challenge of food shortage.
He said 45 percent of cotton crops had been washed away in addition to huge damage to vegetables and fruit and rice fields.
“So far we have lost 1,000 human lives. There is damage to almost nearly one million houses,” Iqbal said at his office.
“People have actually lost their complete livelihood,” he said.
Pakistan has already sought international help to deal with the overwhelming floods, and some countries have already sent in supplies and rescue teams.