19 killed in torrential rain, floods in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: 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 may 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 yesterday, The Express Tribune reported on 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 yesterday, increasing its water level. Officials fear the flooding may reach Nowshera today.

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. Seventeen 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.