Pakistan rain mayhem continues even on fourth day, 63 killed and over hundred missing

People wade through a flooded bridge on a stream, which is overflowing following heavy rains, on the
Image Source : AP People wade through a flooded bridge on a stream, which is overflowing following heavy rains, on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Lightning and heavy rains led to 14 deaths in Pakistan, officials said Wednesday, bringing the death toll from four days of extreme weather to at least 63. Most of the deaths were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Pakistan’s northwest. Collapsing buildings have killed 32 people, including 15 children and five women, said Khursheed Anwar, a spokesman for the Disaster Management Authority. Dozens more were also injured in the northwest, where 1,370 houses were damaged, Anwar said.

The eastern province of Punjab has reported 21 lighting- and collapse-related deaths, while Baluchistan, in the country’s southwest, reported 10 dead as authorities declared a state of emergency following flash floods. On Wednesday, Baluchistan was bracing for more rains amid ongoing rescue and relief operations. Heavy rains also came down on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). 

 256% above normal rainfall in Baluchistan: Pakistan Met dept

Pakistan is seeing heavier rain in April due to climate change, said Zaheer Ahmed Babar, a senior official at the Pakistan Meteorological Department. “So far there has been 256% above normal rainfall in Baluchistan,” Babar told The Associated Press. “Overall, there has been 61% above normal rainfall this month across Pakistan, and it shows climate change has already happened in our country.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in televised remarks that he had ordered authorities to provide relief aid.

Pakistan’s water reservoirs would improve because of the rains, he said. Rafay Alam, a Pakistani environmental expert, said such heavy April rainfall is unusual. “Two years ago, Pakistan witnessed a heat wave in March and April and now we are witnessing rains and it is all because of climate change, which had caused heavy flooding in 2022,” he said.

In 2022, downpours swelled rivers and at one point flooded a third of Pakistan, killing 1,739 people. The floods also caused $30 billion in damages, from which Pakistan is still trying to rebuild.

Similar conditions prevail in Afghanistan

Neighboring Afghanistan also witnessed heavy rains this month. So far, 33 people have died in rain-related incidents there. More than 600 houses were damaged or destroyed while around 200 livestock died. The flooding also damaged large areas of agricultural land and more than 85 km (53 miles) of roads, said Abdullah Janan Saiq, the Taliban’s spokesman for the State Ministry for Natural Disaster Management.

He said authorities in Afghanistan had provided aid to nearly 23,000 families, and that flash floods were reported in 20 of the country’s 34 provinces.

(With inputs from agency)

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