People and vehicles move around a flooded market in Charsadda, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, on Saturday. Reuters
Heavy rains and floods have unleashed devastation in Pakistan’s Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, leaving 19 more dead and hundreds of others stranded in both provinces, disaster management authorities said.
Relentless monsoon rains have pummeled the country and spelled disaster in towns, cities and villages alike.
The Pakistan army, Frontier Corps have been aiding the civil administration in rescue and relief operations in the provinces.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif departed for Balochistan to visit the flood-affected areas of the province and review the rescue and relief operations in the province, Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Saturday.
Shahbaz Sharif arrives to oversee the rescue and relief operations in Balochistan.
The World Health Organisation has also dispatched tents, medicines and other items for the flood victims. However, the scale of calamity is so huge that the relief operation carried out in the flood-hit areas seems insufficient as a large number of people are still waiting to be rescued.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, at least 10 people were killed and 17 injured in floods and roof collapses, according to a report issued by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).
It said that in the last 36 hours, nearly 100 houses were completely damaged in the floods leaving residents stranded in waist-high water and no roof. The most-affected areas include Khyber, Mansehra, Lower Dir, Buner, Charsadda, Swabi and Dera Ismail Khan.
The PDMA has warned that there were high-level floods in the Kabul and Jandi rivers and instructed administration to relocate people living in neighbouring areas.
Vehicle drive through a flooded road caused by heavy rains in Lahore. AP
Rains also inundated the low-lying Katcha areas in Khairpur, Sukkur, Khairpur Nathan Shah and other cities of the Sindh province. The district administrations declared flood in the low-lying areas and advised the residents to shift their livestock and valuables to safer places. In many areas, because of funds shortage, the district administrations failed to rescue the marooned people as well as to drain out the standing rainwater.
In its latest forecast on Saturday, the Met Office predicted more rains accompanied by thunderstorms across the country during the next 12 hours.
Isolated heavy falls are likely in Kashmir, upper Punjab, Islamabad, upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and north Balochistan, a Radio Pakistan report said. It added that cloudy weather with chances of rain-wind-thundershower was predicted in Srinagar, Jammu, Leh, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Baramula.
Excessive heat or back-to-back heatwaves in the southern parts of the country in May and June this year created a "strong seasonal or heat low" in July that caused heavy rains in southern Pakistan, Geo News reported.
"We have buffaloes, cows and goats... if we leave the cattle behind they would be stolen," said Shah Mohammad, 35. Mohammad and others were scrambling to find food not just for themselves, but for their animals too.
"The scale of devastation is massive and requires an immense humanitarian response for 33m people. For this I appeal to my fellow Pakistanis, Pakistan expatriates and the international community to help Pakistan in this hour of need,” minister said.
Unless flooded farmlands can be drained, farmers like Bhanbro will not be able to plant a winter wheat crop — vital for the country's food security. "We have one month. If water is not discharged in that period, there will be no wheat."
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