Death toll in Pak­istan floods soars past 400 as sit­u­a­tion wors­ens

Austin American-Statesman - - SATURDAY BRIEFING -

PESHAWAR, Pak­istan — Pak­istan’s death toll from flash floods and heavy rains in the north­west has risen to 408 and might climb fur­ther as thou­sands are still stranded in the re­gion’s worst storms.

“The fi­nal toll will be much higher than we are es­ti­mat­ing now,” Pro­vin­cial In­for­ma­tion Min­is­ter Mian Iftikhar Hus­sain said at a news con­fer­ence in Peshawar on Fri­day. The toll has risen from 46 deaths 36 hours be­fore he spoke.

The death toll is on top of the 152 peo­ple who died when a plane crashed in heavy rains near the cap­i­tal two days ago. Homes and bridges col­lapsed in the rain, live elec­tric wires fell into the wa­ter and fam­i­lies were swept away in the floods.

“The re­lief ef­forts of ev­ery­one com­bined is only 5 per­cent of what’s re­quired,” Mu­jahid Khan, a spokesman for the Edhi Res­cue Ser­vice, said by phone from Peshawar on Fri­day. “We can see peo­ple drown­ing, but we can’t go into the wa­ter be­cause of its high pres­sure.”

Prime Min­is­ter Yousuf Raza Gi­lani took an aerial tour of the prov­ince Fri­day and or­dered his govern­ment to res­cue peo­ple and pro­vide food to those at safe lo­ca­tions.

“All the houses in my vil­lage have been de­stroyed, and now it’s sim­ply a fight for sur­vival for us,” Mehmood Khan, a tribal elder, said by tele­phone from Wana, South Waziris­tan. “Food sup­plies have started to run out. We haven’t eaten in 48 hours, and the scant food sup­plies we saved for women and chil­dren may not last long.”

Floods may reach the south­ern prov­ince of Sindh within the next few days, fed­eral of­fi­cials said Fri­day. The Sindh govern­ment has or­dered peo­ple liv­ing along the banks of the In­dus River to be evac­u­ated.

mo­ham­mad Sa­j­jad

Vil­lagers sal­vage what they can Fri­day from a home that col­lapsed amid flood­ing in north­west­ern Pak­istan. Thou­sands of peo­ple are stranded and cut off from sup­plies.

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