Death toll in Pakistan floods soars past 400 as situation worsens
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.
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.