Rivers burst, floods kill at least 60 in Pak­istan

hun­dreds of thou­sands stranded in north­west

Austin American-Statesman - - FRIDAYBRIEFING -

PESHAWAR, Pak­istan — Rivers burst their banks dur­ing deadly monsoon rains lash­ing Pak­istan, wash­ing away streets, bat­ter­ing a dam and sub­merg­ing thou­sands of homes, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The hard­est hit re­gion was the north­west, where at least 60 peo­ple died and hun­dreds of thou­sands were stranded in the re­gion’s worst flood­ing in decades.

Two el­derly men clung to a fence post and each other as a rag­ing tor­rent swept over their heads in the north­west Peshawar area, footage on Pak­istan’s Dunya TV showed. It was un­clear whether they sur­vived.

Peo­ple were forced to trudge through knee-deep wa­ter in some streets in the Swat Val­ley. A newly con­structed part of a dam in the Charsadda district col­lapsed, and the U.N. said it had re­ports that 5,000 homes were un­der wa­ter in that area.

At least 10 of 60 peo­ple re­ported dead in the pre­vi­ous 24 hours died near Peshawar when their homes crum­bled.

Dozens of peo­ple were re­ported missing, in­clud­ing at least nine Chi­nese con­struc­tion work­ers in the Ko­his­tan area. About 200 other Chi­nese work­ers were trapped amid the down­pour, said Mian If- A Pak­istani vil­lager with his daugh­ter moves to a safe place from a flood-hit vil­lage near Now­shera, Pak­istan, on Thurs­day. tikhar Hus­sain, the in­for­ma­tion min­is­ter for Khy­ber-Pakhtoonkhwa, the north­west prov­ince.

He said it was the worst floods in the re­gion since 1929 and es­ti­mated 400,000 peo­ple were stranded in var­i­ous vil­lages.

“A res­cue op­er­a­tion us­ing he­li­copters can­not be con­ducted due to the bad weather, while there are only 48 res­cue boats avail­able for res­cue,” he said, not­ing that weather fore­casts pre­dict more rain dur­ing the next 24 hours.

Monsoon sea­son of­ten leads to wide­spread flood­ing in Pak­istan, im­per­il­ing res­i­dents in low-ly­ing vil­lages. The poor­est res­i­dents are of­ten the ones who live in the most flood-prone ar­eas be­cause they can’t af­ford safer land.

South­west Baluchis­tan prov­ince also has been hit hard by the re­cent rains. Last week, flash floods in that re­gion killed at least 41 peo­ple and swept away thou­sands of homes. A U.N. state­ment Thurs­day said 150,000 peo­ple had been af­fected there.

Mo­ham­mad Sa­j­jad

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