Afghanistan + 2 more

Rain and snow kill at least 77 in South Asia

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Four days of deadly winter rain and snow sweeping across Pakistan, Afghanistan and India have killed at least 77 people, officials and state media reported on Wednesday.

The state-run Pakistan Television said at least 62 people had been killed in Pakistan alone and hundreds of houses destroyed in the heaviest winter rain in three decades.

It said nine people were killed on Wednesday in the town of Abbottabad, 60 km (40 miles) north of Islamabad and another five in Havalian, 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital, when their houses collapsed.

On Tuesday night, at least 12 people, including three children, were killed and six injured when a truck loaded with cement sacks overturned and crushed a minibus about 100 km (60 miles) north of Quetta.

In the Indian-ruled part of Kashmir, meanwhile, four people, including a child, died after heavy snowfall caused several houses to collapse north of Srinigar.

Officials there said three other people had died in the region in the past 24 hours as a result of heavy rains and snowfall.

Six to seven feet of snow were recorded in northern Kashmir and life in many parts of the Kashmir Valley ground to a near halt as snow blocked roads and cut power supplies.

Six weather-related deaths were reported in Afghanistan earlier in the week and another two in India.

While deadly, the rains have also brought relief to many rural parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which have suffered several years of destructive drought, the worst in memory.

Meteorologists in Pakistan say the rains have soaked drought-hit areas in Pakistan, including the Thar desert in Sindh province and Cholistan in Punjab province.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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