Angelina Jolie visits flood-hit Pakistan, offers support

Hollywood actress and UN humanitarian Angelina Jolie made a surprise visit to one of the worst flood-hit areas in southern Pakistan on Tuesday, officials said, as the death toll from months-long deluges rose to 1,559.

TV footage showed Jolie arriving at an airport in Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province, where floods since mid-June have killed 692 people, damaged hundreds of thousands of homes and left half a million people homeless. Later, she visited some of the flood-affected areas, according to local media.

According to the IRC, a prominent international aid group, Jolie is visiting Pakistan to support communities affected by the devastating floods. There was no comment from the government about Jolie’s visit to Dadu, one of the worst-hit districts where waterborne diseases have also caused nearly 300 deaths since July. Currently, doctors are trying to contain the outbreak of waterborne diseases among flood survivors.

Jolie previously visited Pakistan in 2010 and 2005 to meet victims of the earthquakes. She is currently visiting as part of the the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) emergency response operations.

The Maleficent actor will highlight the urgent support needed for the people of Pakistan and long-term solutions to address the crises of climate change and human displacement.

In the press release, the IRC hoped that her visit will prompt the international community — particularly the US that contributes the most to carbon emissions — to act and provide urgent support to countries bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.

IRC Pakistan Country Director Shabnam Baloch said, “The climate crisis is destroying lives and futures in Pakistan, with severe consequences especially for women and children. The resulting economic loss from these floods will likely lead to food insecurity and an increase in violence against women and girls. We need immediate support to reach people in urgent need, and long term investments to stop climate change from destroying our collective futures. With more rains expected in the coming months, we hope Angelina Jolie’s visit will help the world wake up and take action.”

The Committee’s latest assessment reveals that people are in urgent need of food, clean drinking water, shelter and healthcare. A survey reported that women and young girls have no access to menstrual hygiene products either. The IRC has reached more than 50,000 women and girls with humanitarian assistance, including hygiene kits to address the sanitary concerns raised by women.