29 killed in rains, flash floods in Pakistan

At least 29 people were killed and over 50 injured in rain-related incidents in Pakistan as torrential downpours inundated the financial hub of Karachi and the country`s northwest on Saturday.

Islamabad/Karachi: At least 29 people were killed and over 50 injured in rain-related incidents in Pakistan as torrential downpours inundated the financial hub of Karachi and the country`s northwest on Saturday.

The army was called out to support relief work in Karachi, where 10 people died. Five persons, including three children, were electrocuted while a woman drowned after falling into an open manhole, officials said.

Parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the tribal belt were also affected by rains, with 13 reported dead and 34 injured in separate incidents since yesterday. Six deaths were reported in Punjab.

Four members of a family were killed in Kurram tribal region when the wall of a house collapsed. Deaths were also reported at Peshawar and Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Heavy rains that started early this morning created havoc in many parts of Karachi, with residents complaining of no electricity. Overflowing gutters and flooded roads and underpasses caused traffic jams in several areas.

The Met Office said 115 mm of rain was recorded in Karachi. Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui said an emergency had been declared in the city.

"We are carrying out emergency relief work in many parts of the city and the government has sought the army`s support, mainly in low-lying areas like Lyari and Malir," a Karachi city administration official said.

An official of the Karachi Electricity Corporation said at least 400 feeders had tripped or been damaged by the rains which continued throughout the day.

"Every time we get rains in Karachi, there is no power. When will these people ever learn?" said Fahad Ahmed, a resident of Karachi.

Ahmed said his residential block had been without electricity for the past 10 hours and there was no sign that power supply would be restored soon.

Extensive property damage was reported from Pakistan`s northern regions and residents in many areas were forced to leave homes inundated by rainwater.

More mass displacement is expected as the level of several rivers continued to rise. Nearly 50,000 cusecs of water flowed into Warsak Dam yesterday, increasing its water level.

Officials said they feared the flooding could reach Nowshera city of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, seven districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have been declared sensitive.

PDMA chief Atifur Rehman said tents, water and food supplies had been sent to these areas, but "the situation is something to worry about".

In the northern Chitral district, officials said rains had washed away about 60 houses and destroyed two bridges connecting the Kalash valley.

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

Communications, water and electricity supply systems across Chitral district were severely disrupted as well. The district administration launched rescue efforts and moved flood victims to Chitral city.

Four people were killed at 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 were reported injured across PoK.

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

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.

Taking notice of the extensive damage, especially in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the National Disaster Management Authority to immediately coordinate relief efforts with the province`s government.

The army, Frontier Corps and Levies militia were put on alert to provide immediate aid if the situation worsens. More rains are expected in the annual monsoon season, officials said.