Islamabad: Over 40 people, including women and children, have died and dozens reported missing due to torrential rains and flooding in parts of Pakistan, officials said on Thursday.
Flash floods following heavy rains over the past few days swept away about 50 people in Barkhan and Kohlu areas of Balochistan province. Provincial Disaster Management Authority chief Hassan Baloch said 30 people had died in Barkhan and 20 others were missing.
Torrential rains in Barkhan district caused flooding in the Han rivulet that washed away hundreds of mud houses, officials said. They said the rains and floods had severed all means of communication and authorities were trying to re-establish contact with flood-hit areas.
Twelve people were killed in Lahore and other parts of northern Punjab and over 15 others were injured, officials said. The deaths were caused by electrocution, drowning and collapse of buildings. There were reports of flooding from several cities in Punjab, including Lahore and Faisalabad. Attendance was thin in offices in parts of Punjab while the shortage of public transport left many in the lurch.
Around 70 houses were washed away by flash floods in Bannu district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province last night. The paramilitary Frontier Corps and the army sent humanitarian supplies and medical teams in helicopters to the flood-hit areas in Balochistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari expressed concern at the large number of deaths in rain-related incidents across the country and asked authorities to take steps for immediate relief and rehabilitation measures. The President asked authorities to ensure that people are warned in advance of heavy rains and to put in place measures to evacuate residents of low-lying areas.
The onset of the monsoon has resulted in torrential rains in many parts of Pakistan, including Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa provinces. The heaviest showers were recorded in Mianwali, which received 179 mm of rains in 24 hours. The meteorological office has forecast more showers across the country in the coming days. Officials said the rains had helped increase the level of several dams.