ISLAMABAD: At least 78 people died and dozens were injured as torrential rains and flash floods wreaked havoc in Pakistan over the past three days, a government spokesman said Monday.
Heavy monsoon rains which began falling last week destroyed more than 1,600 houses while damaging a further 5,000, Irshad Bhatti, a spokesman for the country’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) told AFP.
“A total of 78 people have died and 68 injured in rains and flash floods in the country so far,” he said, adding that the casualties were caused mostly by houses collapsing and people being caught in floods.
The worst-hit region was Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where 32 people have died and 26 were injured in several districts, he said, adding that 83 houses were totally destroyed and another 4,200 were partially damaged, he said.
In the northwestern district of Swabi eight Afghan refugees were killed when the roof of their mud house collapsed overnight, police official Mohammad Ali said.
The dead, who were members of the same family, included two women and six children aged between one and 12 years he said.
In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, flash flood killed at least 31 people, Bhatti said. Rains killed at least 26 people in that region last month.
A state of emergency, meanwhile has been declared in the Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts of the Punjab province, where army troops have been called to join rescue work, local administration officials aid.
Weather officials predict heavy rain in the next two days in southern Sindh and Baluchistan provinces. Rescue teams are closely monitoring the situation, Bhatti said.
Floods in Pakistan in the summer of 2011 affected 5.8 million people, with flood waters killing livestock, destroying crops, homes and infrastructure as the nation struggled to recover from record inundations the previous year.
The UN and aid agencies put the death toll at more than 340 last year.
In 2010, unprecedented monsoon rainfall triggered catastrophic flooding across the country, ravaging an area roughly the size of England and affecting 21 million people in the poverty-stricken nation’s worst natural disaster.
Officials put the toll at 1760 in that calamity.