Torrential rains and flooding have killed more than 80 people in Pakistan this month and affected almost 300,000. The country’s disaster management agency has warned of more bad weather to come.
The nationwide death toll from this month’s flash floods in various parts of Pakistan rose to 81 as floodwaters inundated hundreds of villages, while leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. The severe rains which began in mid-July have caused havoc in many parts of the country.
Local Dawn TV reported that up to 50 villages were inundated in the northeastern Rajanpur district, while southern Kashmor was also heavily hit by the flooding.
“Thousands of people are still stranded by flooding in low-lying areas and waiting to be rescued,” Allauddin Khoso, who managed to reach safer ground on a small boat, told local Geo TV.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority the current floods have badly affected the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where 40 people have been killed and hundreds of buildings, bridges and roads have been washed away.
The latest TV footage showed widespread devastation in the tourist Chitral valley, where rescue workers have struggled to operate because of damaged bridge and road links.
Pakistan has repeatedly struggled to cope with major floods in recent years, including a deluge that killed more than 2,000 people and inundated a fifth of the country in 2010.
Chitral particularly hit by floods
Authorities said that the floods had affected 300,000 people in the two weeks since deluges hit the northern city of Chitral and the eastern Punjab province. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warned of more rains to come this week, and asked authorities to take the necessary steps to prevent further destruction.
Pakistan’s military meanwhile said its helicopters had airlifted 30 patients and tourists from the badly flooded city of Chitral to the city of Peshawar. Many roads and bridges around Chitral have also been affected.
The NDMA also said that the flooding had inundated hundreds of villages and had damaged 1,921 homes, adding that a total of 172,016 people had been rescued from the flood-hit areas.
Every year, Pakistan and neighboring India are hit by severe weather patterns, which have killed hundreds and wiped out millions of acres of prime farmland in recent years, harming the heavily agrarian economy.