Pak floods kill more than 350

Monsoon wreaks havoc

 Flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential monsoon rains have killed more than 350 people in Pakistan in three days and affected at least 300,000, officials said on Friday.

Hundreds of homes and thousands of hectares (acres) of cultivated land were destroyed in the northwest and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, with the main highway to China reportedly cut off and communities left isolated.

The death toll dwarfed even the 152 killed when a Pakistani passenger jet crashed into hills overlooking Islamabad on Wednesday and capped a week of tragedy in the nuclear-armed nation of 167 million.

Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where impoverished families live in remote mountain villages, was the worst affected.

“We have so far gathered the figure of 325 deaths due to flash floods in the northwest and (Pakistan-controlled) Kashmir,” said Anwer Kazmi, spokesman for Pakistan’s largest charity the Edhi Foundation.

“Our officials have got reports of at least 300 deaths in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province while 25 people died in Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad.

“We have not collected the complete figures from some districts and fear the number of casualties is much higher,” he said.

Unprecedented

The meteorological department said an “unprecedented” 312 millimetres of rain had fallen in the last 36 hours in the northwest but predicted only scattered showers during coming days.

Government officials put the death toll at 232.

“At least 181 people have died and more than 60 are missing in the province,” provincial relief commissioner Shakil Qadir said.

The worst-hit area was Malakand, where 102 people died and 16,000 were marooned because bridges have collapsed and road links been cut, he said.

Qadir said that around 2,800 Pakistani holidaymakers had been stranded in the Swat valley, where the military maintains a heavy presence after a massive operation against Taliban insurgents last year.

Efforts are being made to airlift them to safety in helicopters, he said.
The death toll was confirmed by senior provincial minister, Bashir Ahmad Bilour, who said around 3,00,000 people had been affected as gushing water swept away hundreds of houses.

In Pakistan’s largest northwestern city, Peshawar, 80,000 people were affected alone, he said. Bridges were washed away and areas cut off as heavy rains swept away roads and disrupted communications.

Among the 210 dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were 29 killed when a landslide hit their houses on Friday, police said.

Women and children were among the dead. The landslide caused by heavy monsoon rain destroyed 11 houses on a mountain in Shangla district.

“Twenty-nine people have died. There are women and children among the dead,” senior police officer Qazi Jamil said.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)