‘Thousands’ displaced in Pakistan

2010-07-30 08:52

The death toll from flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential monsoon rains in Pakistan rose to nearly 200 today as officials reported thousands more displaced.

Hundreds of homes and thousands of hectares of cultivated land have been destroyed in the northwest and Pakistani Kashmir, with the military mobilised to assist with rescue efforts.

State media reported that the Karakoram Highway, which links Pakistan to China, was closed as rains washed away a bridge in Shangla district, also cutting off Gilgit-Baltistan from other parts of the country.

Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was the worst affected where officials said floods killed at least 141 people in three days.

The province’s senior minister, Bashir Ahmad Bilour, said: “136 people have died in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

Bilour was on a visit to the affected areas of Peshawar where he said more than 30 000 people had been displaced.

Bridges were washed away and areas cut off as heavy rains swept away roads and disrupted communications.

At least 29 people, including women and children, dies today when a landslide hit their houses in northwest Pakistan, police said.

The landslide caused by heavy monsoon rain destroyed 11 houses on a mountain in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla district.

Senior police officer Qazai Jamil said: “Twenty-nine people have died. I think the death toll will rise. There are women and children among the dead.”

Fazlullah Khan, a local member of Parliament, said 34 people were killed.

He said: “A rescue operation is under way. Bad weather is a big hurdle.”

Another 22 people were killed and more than 30 injured Thursday as dozens of houses collapsed due to heavy rains in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, said the regional prime minister Sardar Atique Ahmed.

The army has been summoned to tackle the problems caused by the flood waters, with the northwestern Swat and Malakand districts the hardest hit.

The military said it sent boats to rescue stranded people and army engineers were attempting to open roads and divert the waters from key routes.

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