The worst floods in Pakistan's history are devastating its already fragile economy, adding further instability to the troubled nation.
The biggest city and commercial hub, Karachi, is in danger of being hit by the floodwaters. Hundreds of thousands of homes, crops and livestock have been washed away and huge damage has been caused to infrastructure including bridges, roads, government buildings and electricity. The United nations says reconstruction is likely to cost billions.
Further heavy monsoon rains are forecast and the meteorological department has warned of ''flooding in Karachi, Hyderabad and other urban areas''.
At least 1600 people have been killed, but there are warnings the final toll could rise well above 2000. At the weekend about 30 bodies were reportedly recovered following landslides in two flood-hit villages in the north, while 25 more people were believed missing.
About 15 million people have been directly affected by the floods, but the consequences are being felt across the country as food prices rise. There are reports the cost of basics like onions, potatoes and tomatoes has quadrupled following the inundation of huge tracts of prime farming land.
The Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, has appealed to the world for help, saying the needed response to the disaster is ''beyond our capacity''.
He said ''our country has gone back several years''.
The UN's special envoy, Jean-Maurice Ripert, told the Associated Press that the emergency phase ''will require hundreds of millions of dollars and the recovery and reconstruction part will require billions of dollars''.
Dr Faisal Bari, a Pakistani economist and adviser to the Open Society Institute, said that while the full extent of destruction to public infrastructure would not be known until the floodwaters receded, the ''scale is going to be very large''.
The rescue effort is sapping the government's budget, which had been under serious strain before the floods.
But Dr Bari said it was unlikely the international donations would cover the massive cost of rehabilitation, putting additional pressure on domestic finances.
''This is going to be fairly hard for Pakistan to manage,'' he said.
The UN has said the disaster is ''on par'' with the earthquake that hit Kashmir in 2005, killing more than 70,000 people.
While the loss of life has been much lower, the flood has affected a vast area and the economic cost will be significant. It has reportedly wiped out 30 per cent of the cotton crop and damaged a significant proportion of food crops in the breadbasket provinces of Punjab and Sindh.
Every main bridge in the Swat Valley, in the north, has reportedly been destroyed and it could take months to get electricity back to the region.
The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province) has put losses in that province at about 200 billion rupees ($2.33 billion).
''The flooding is definitely going to have a growth impact,'' Dr Bari said.
In late 2008 Pakistan was forced to borrow from the International Monetary Fund to avoid defaulting on its foreign loans and economists say it remains dependent on the fund.
The economic problems have been blamed for stoking militancy in the country and security experts have warned that the floods could play into the hands of extremist groups if infrastructure and livelihoods are not restored quickly.
Pakistan crisis | Floods threaten to sink teetering economy