Pakistan: 25 killed in rain-related accidents in 2 days as monsoon wreaks havoc
By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): At least 25 people have been killed in rain-related accidents in the last two days as a fresh spell of monsoon rains and flash floods has inundated large swathes of Pakistan, triggering landslides and washing away houses, roads, and bridges, officials and local media reported on Saturday.
Some 25 people have lost their lives due to flooding, electrocution, and roof and wall collapses across the country over the past two days, according to government agencies and local media.
Southwestern Balochistan province, which touches neighboring Afghanistan and Iran, has been the worst hit, where flooding caused by torrential rains has submerged over a dozen districts, forcing thousands to leave their homes for safety.
Thousands more, rescue officials said, have been marooned by unrelenting rains along with flashfloods that have washed away hundreds of houses, bridges, roads, and hundreds of animals in Bolan, Zhob, Kohlu, Qila Saifullah, Harnai, Lasbella, Chaman and other districts of Balochistan, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), a state-run agency that oversees relief and rescue operations, said in a statement.
Images on local broadcaster Geo News showed several roads and highways resembling rivers, and brown muddy rainwaters lapping against the roofs of trapped vehicles.
The main RCD Highway which connects Balochistan to the country’s commercial capital Karachi has been closed to traffic after its several portions were submerged by rainwaters.
The Chaman crossing which connects the mineral-rich province with southern Afghanistan has been shut after two dams in the region burst their banks due to massive downpours.
Flooding caused by torrential rains also wreaked havoc in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region, which borders China, washing away houses and connecting bridges, triggering landslides, and uprooting trees and electricity poles.
At least 10 people have been killed across northeastern Punjab province over the past two days in rain-related accidents, mainly electrocution and roof collapse.
Bad weather hampering rescue operations, 120 killed in Balochistan
The ongoing monsoon spell has killed 120 people in Balochistan since June 14, the NDMA said.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has forecast more rains in Balochistan, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir for the next two days.
Hundreds of rescue workers backed by army troops scrambled to shift the marooned residents to safer places in Balochistan as bad weather hampered the relief and rescue operations, the NDMA said.
In the last 24 hours, nine of a family drowned after they were swept away by the floods, the PDMA said in an update.
The deceased include seven children and a woman.
According to Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili, since June 1, rains have taken the lives of 124 people and damaged 10,000 houses in the province.
Army helicopters dropped food packets, water bottles, and other essential items for stranded people in flood-hit areas.
Faisal Tariq, an official with the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, told Anadolu Agency that bad weather is hampering the relief and rescue operations.
He did, however, estimate that 128 people were killed in the province.
Stranded people in several affected areas could not be airlifted due to bad weather, he said.
Meanwhile, cargo railway service between Pakistan and Iran has also been suspended due to floods on the Chahgi district railway track.
Monsoon rains have long been causing devastation in this South Asian nuclear country, however, the global warming driven by climate change has increased their frequency, ferocity and unpredictability in recent years.
[Photo: People use handmade boat to travel through flooded Al Shah Colony after heavy monsoon rain hits Hyderabad, Pakistan on July 26, 2022. Photojournalist :Jan Ali Laghari/AA]
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