19 killed in torrential rain, floods in Pakistan

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At least 19 people have been killed and 42 others injured in flash floods triggered by heavy rains in Pakistan, even as authorities warned the situation might worsen further.

Parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the tribal areas were worst affected by the torrential rains with as many as 13 reported dead and 34 injured in separate incidents Friday The Express Tribune reported Saturday.

Six deaths were reported in Punjab, the paper said.

Extensive property damage was reported from the country’s northern regions and residents in many areas were forced to leave their homes as rainwater inundated their homes.

More mass displacement is expected, as the water level continues to rise. Nearly 50,000 cusecs of water flowed into Warsak Dam Friday, increasing its water level. Officials fear the flooding may reach Nowshera Saturday.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), seven districts of KP, including Nowshera, Swat, Peshawar and Kohistan, are sensitive.

PDMA director-general Atifur Rehman said tents, water and food supplies have been sent to these areas, but “the situation is something to worry about.”

As of now, Chitral district appeared to be the worst hit.

Floods have claimed five lives since Thursday morning, as rainwater washed away dozens of houses and destroyed two bridges connecting the Kalash valley to upper Chitral. A minor girl was also reported injured in the district.

Talking to reporters while visiting the affected areas, Chitral deputy commissioner Shoaib Jadoon said rains and flash floods destroyed at least 60 houses in the district.

Unofficially, however, the figure was as high as 120. At least 45 of these houses belonged to the Bamboret valley.

Communications and water and electricity supply systems in the entire district were severely disrupted as well.

Jadoon added that the district administration has launched rescue efforts and moved flood victims to safer ground in Chitral city.

Four people were killed in Bagh in PoK when their vehicle was swept off the road by flash floods. Another man reportedly drowned in Bagh’s Ghaniabad area. 17 more people were also reported injured across PoK.

The heavy downpour also caused millions of rupees worth of property damage in the region, destroying commercial and residential buildings as well as crops.

A boy and his mother were killed in Bajaur agency, as the roof of their house collapsed due to the heavy downpour.

In a similar incident, a man was killed and his father critically injured in Peshawar district when the roof of the room they were in collapsed.

Two children were killed in Timergara when a landslide struck their house. Rainfall also demolished the wall of a mosque in Karak city, injuring five worshippers.

At least eight houses in Khyber agency were completely washed away by flash floods, while 17 others were reported to partially damaged.

According to Jamrud political administration official Asmatullah Wazir, 15 people were injured after the roofs of their houses caved in.

Another seven tribesmen from the area were injured in separate rain-related incidents.

Floods and landslides hit villages and valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan, damaging standing crops, water channels and orchards.

The floods also damaged part of the Chilas-Babusar road, besides washing away some timber.

Torrential rains caused low-level floods in Swat as well, while a massive torrent of rainwater flowing towards Gogdara village blocked the main GT Road.

Low-level flooding was also reported in the Elum stream, prompting people living by its banks to evacuate their houses.

Taking notice of the extensive damages, especially in KP, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the National Disaster Management Authority to coordinate relief efforts with the province’s government immediately.

Meanwhile, the Army, Frontier Corps and Levies have been put on high alert to provide immediate aid if the situation worsens.

More rains are expected in the annual monsoon season and Saturday heavy downpour was reported in southern port city of Karachi.

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