50 killed in KP, Fata rains

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PM and KP CM express grief and sorrow over loss of human lives

Tariq Saeed

Peshawar—Torrential rains followed by heavy floods, lightning and landsliding have again wreaked havoc in various cities of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and some parts of Gilgit-Baltistan.
According to rough estimates more than 50 people were killed and scores wounded during the last 24 hours with damage to property and standing crops worth millions.
Hundreds of people including tourists remained stranded in Shandoor, Skardu, Gilgit and many cities of KP where the gushing waters and landslides have cut communication links with other parts of the country.
Those killed include seven of a family hit by the lightning in Kohistan district.
Last month, torrential rains coupled with flash floods and landsliding hit the region from March 9-19, causing widespread destruction in FATA and Pukhtunkhwa killing over 60 people.
While hundreds of cattle were reported dead during this period, hundreds of houses and standing crops had also been destroyed.
Reports reaching here and as confirmed by official sources and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) on Sunday said more than 40 people were killed and several others injured in by the heavy floods, lighting and landsliding in Malakand , Kohistan and Chitral division whereas Shangla, Swat, Chitral, Buner, Charsadda were hard hit.
Unconfirmed reports, however, put the death toll in KP during the last 24 hours to more than 50 with 19 alone in Shangla and 14 in remote Kohistan adding to around 40 also sustained injuries in two districts.
Though loss of life was reported from Peshawar, however, heavy floods in the Bara River has spread wide range destruction in the outskirts of provincial metropolis where hundreds of shops and houses were washed away by the angry waters that has also led to the destruction of Batta Tall Bridge.
The affected people said floods have rendered losses in millions of rupees to them.
According to local administration and the PDMA torrential rain triggered landslides in Shangla district that had destroyed around 50 houses resulting in the killing of at least 10 people.
Besides, several vehicles were also swept away as many important roads of the town have also been blocked by landslides. Likewise, seven of a family was killed in Kohistan district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa when lightning struck their house in a remote area. Five others also sustained injuries and were shifted to hospital.
One man was swept away by the gushing waters in Kundian area of Kohistan district. Reports said many people were killed when an avalanche rolled over two houses in Lelonaee area of Bisham as the victims were retrieved by the locals and a welfare organization.
In Swat district, the continuous rains have caused flash flooding in Swat River, cutting off several villages from rest of the region. Four people were killed and many injured seriously in rain-related incidents mostly house collapses.
Reports say a women and a girl child drowned in floods waters in Tota Bandi area of Tehsil Kabal in Swat where as a man was swept away by the angry waters in Korrak area.
The rescuers have retrieved all three dead bodies. Besides, many hotels and houses were destroyed by the heavy waters in various areas of Swat with road links cutoff. It was reported that scores of people were stranded in those areas.
Many bridges connecting Swat, Bahrain and picturesque Kalam valley were also reported damaged leaving tourist stranded in Bahrain and Kalam.
According to officials the torrential rains also played havoc in Lower Dir, Chitral, Charsadda, Mardan and Mansehra.
Two people each were also reported killed in Bannu and Battagram.
Likewise, losses to life and property were reported in Gilgit-Baltistan and landsliding damaged Karakorum Highway between Gilgit and Chillas. Reports said several areas are without electricity for many hours as a power plant was damaged in the Naltar Valley near Gilgit.
In Chillas area of Diamir district at least four people were reported killed when the roof of their house caved in. Due to heavy landsliding many important roads connecting Chillas with number of scenic spots have been blocked as scores of tourists remained stranded in those spots. According to Met Office Gilgit-Baltistan received 31 millimetre rain during the last 24 hours and westerly wave is affecting western and upper parts of the country and likely to persist next 24 hours.
It said widespread rain-thundershower accompanied by strong gusty winds with isolated heavy falls and snowfall over the hills is expected in Malakand, Hazara divisions, Islamabad, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan & Kashmir.
Heavy downpour may trigger further landslides in the vulnerable areas during the period. Heavy downpours may also generate isolated flash flooding in the local ravines and streams.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority spokesman said the PDMA has dispatched 200 blankets and 200 tents each to Swat, Shangla, Dir Upper, Dir Lower and Kohistan as well as other relief items under the instructions of the Chief Minister Khyber Pukhtunkhwa who is being kept abreast of hour-to-hour situation of the affected areas.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Sunday expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious human lives due to flash floods, triggered by rains in different parts of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.
He has directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and other concerned authorities to ensure timely relief activities for the victims, including provision of proper medical care, food and shelter for the affected. The concerned authorities were further directed to keep him updated on the situation.
The Chief Minister Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Pervez Khan Khattak and KP Finance Minister Muzaffar Said Advocate have expressed grief and shock over heavy losses of precious human lives and properties due to continuous rains, landslides and roofs collapse incidents in various parts of the province including Dir Lower.An official communi-qué said they were in close contact with the PDMA and concerned district administration authorities for emergency relief measures and assistance to the affectees.

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