3 days of heavy monsoon rains kill 58 people across Pakistan
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Three days of heavy monsoon rains triggering flash floods killed at least 58 people in various parts of Pakistan, as troops with boats rushed Sunday to evacuate people from flood-affected districts in the country's southern Sindh and southwestern Baluchistan provinces.
Every year, many cities in Pakistan struggle to cope with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism about poor planning. The monsoon season runs from July through September, during which swelling rivers cause damage to crops and infrastructure.
According to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, 19 people were killed in rain-related incidents in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 12 in southern Sindh province, eight in Punjab province and 10 in the country's scenic northern Gligit Baltistan region in the past three days.
Rains also partially damaged about 100 homes and caused a breach in a flooded main canal, inundating villages in Sindh province. In a statement, the military said troops used boats to rescue stranded people and move them to safety. It said a medical camp was also established and food was being provided to the rescued people.
Heavy rains also lashed many districts in the southwestern Baluchistan province, killing eight people, damaging homes and inundating many villages in the district of Jhal Magsi, according to Saleem Zakir, spokesman for provincial disaster management authority. He said rescuers with the army’s help were still trying to evacuate people from the district's flood-hit villages.
He said floods damaged a bridge and a gas pipeline and destroyed coastal roads on the Arabian Sea, severing links to the port of Gwadar, part of China’s multi-billion dollar one-road project linking south and Central Asia to China.
According to local media reports, hundreds of people moved to nearby hills when the floodwaters entered their villages in remote areas of Baluchistan, and the military used helicopters and boats to move them to safer places. Authorities were dispatching tents and food for the flood-affected people.
Heavy rainfall began last week and continued Sunday, flooding streets even in the eastern city of Lahore. It especially disrupted normal life last week in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh province and Pakistan's commercial hub, where sewage flooded most of the streets, prompting Prime Minister Imran Khan to order the army to assist authorities in handling the situation.
According to the Meteorological Department, heavy rains are expected to continue next week.
In Pakistan and neighboring India, deadly floods occur regularly during the monsoon season.
Associated Press writers Abdul Sattar in Quetta, Pakistan and Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan contributed to this report.