Flooding Kills Hundreds in Pakistan

Heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan caused rivers to overflow—triggering landslides, destroying villages and blocking rescue efforts.

Three days of intense weather in Pakistan have left nearly 410 people dead as monsoonal rains have caused major flooding-submerging villages and destroying infrastructure and farmlands in what is being labeled as Pakistan’s worst flooding in almost a century, Bloomberg reports.

Flooding in Pakistan

Photo creative commons NB77.

The northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—especially the Nowshera, Charsadda, Peshawar, Swat and Lower Dir districts—has been the hardest hit, with more than 290 people killed, according to CBC News.

Bad weather, difficult terrain and damaged infrastructure have hindered rescue operations—as under-equipped rescue workers have struggled to reach many of the impacted towns, the Associated Press reports. The Pakistani army has taken the lead in rescue efforts and has evacuated 14,250 people from the region, Reuters reports.

Natural disasters are common for the arid Middle Eastern country. Floods in southern Pakistan killed more than 200 and affected 1.6 million people in 2007, according to the AFP. But the intensity of this year’s rainfall has been unprecedented. Khyber Paktunkhwa has been soaked by nearly 312 mm of rain over the past three days—the most it has received in more than three decades, according to Reuters.

Pakistani Kashmir has also been greatly impacted. On Thursday, 22 people were killed and 30 more were injured after rain caused houses to collapse, the AFP reports.

Part of a dam collapsed in the town of Charsadda, engulfing more than 5,000 homes and destroying crops, Al Jazeera reported. The water level of the River Swat was the highest it had been since 1929, according to the country’s National Disaster Management Authority. In Peshawar, Pakistan’s largest northwestern city, 80,000 people have been impacted as flooding washed away bridges and roads, the AFP reports.

The rushing water has taken out roads and highways, cutting off the districts of Swat, Shangla as well as Peshawar from the rest of the country, according to the AFP. Rising water has also submerged half of Nowshera, destroying hospitals and buildings, Reuters reports.

The monsoon began about one week ago, when 70 people were killed and 100,000 people were displaced by flooding in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, Bloomberg reported. Monsoon season in Pakistan typically persists well into September, and current heavy rains are forecasted to continue for the next week.

Sources: Bloomberg, CBC News, AP, Reuters, AFP, AFP, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg

For more coverage on Pakistan’s water woes, check out Circle of Blue.

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