Pakistan: 310 dead, dozens of houses washed away as flash floods wreak havoc

·2-min read

The death toll from flash floods and rain-related incidents from more than five weeks of devastating monsoon in Pakistan has soared to 310.

Around 8,979 houses have been damaged in the south Asian country after a deluge of rain flooded main roads, breached dams, and swelled rivers. More than 3,600 houses have been fully destroyed, authorities said.

According to the latest data from the country’s National Disaster Management Authority, those who died between 15 June and 24 July in rain-related incidents include 135 men, 55 women and 120 children.

The worst-hit region was the remote and impoverished southwestern Balochistan province, where 100 deaths were recorded, followed by 70 deaths in Sindh province.

On Sunday, torrential rain caused flash floods in the Kandia district of northern Kohistan, a region in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, washing away mini power stations and several villages.

Around 50 houses were swept away in the floods, while roads and bridges in the region were damaged, according to an official from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

A fruit seller navigates a flooded road after heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan (AP)
A fruit seller navigates a flooded road after heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan (AP)

However, local relief workers estimate the devastation to be much worse, reporting that several villages are cut off because of broken roads and bridges, with no power or access to drinking water or food.

The situation is no better in major Pakistani cities. In the port city of Karachi, around four people, including a child, were killed on Sunday after rain flooded the streets. The Sindh government announced a public holiday in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions on Monday in the wake of flash flooding.

Rescue personnel evacuate people in a boat after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi (EPA)
Rescue personnel evacuate people in a boat after heavy monsoon rains in Karachi (EPA)

Every year, Pakistan reels under a brutal monsoon season, which runs from June through to August. The government is often criticised for its poor management and planning in relation to the annual downpour.

The monsoon has been particularly devastating this year, prompting the country’s minister for climate change, Sherry Rehman, to describe its onslaught as a “national tragedy”.

The 2010 floods, the worst in recent memory, affected 20 million people and damaged infrastructure worth billions of dollars in vast swathes of the country. Almost one-fifth of Pakistan suffered as a result of the flooding.

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