Pakistan

Pakistan: Five dead, 10,000 displaced in northern flooding

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PESHAWAR, 5 July (IRIN) - At least five people have been killed and nearly 10,000 people have been displaced after two weeks of heavy flooding in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the provincial relief department said on Monday.

According to meteorologists, unusual weather conditions including the heaviest snowfall in the region for over a century, have combined to cause the problems and created severe flooding along the Kabul and Swat rivers.

"This year, summer temperatures in the north have been relatively high. These temperatures have led to massive snowmelt, the largest in 100 years, hence the flooding," Shaukat Ali Awan, chief of Pakistan's Meteorological Department (PMD) said from the eastern city of Lahore, provincial capital of Punjab.

The extensive flooding has damaged an 80-year-old bridge, which serves as the main link to the two tribal agencies from the NWFP's provincial capital, Peshawar.

"Michni Bridge over the Kabul river near Peshawar has been closed today [Monday] for all traffic after it was partially damaged due to gushing floodwater. However, the repair work is underway and is expected to be completed shortly," said Arshad Abbasi, an official at the provincial relief cell in Peshawar.

Around 10,000 people from 86 villages along the swollen rivers in Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Swabi and Chitral districts, have been affected so far. In addition, floodwater has demolished some 250 mud houses with another 1,500 homes partially damaged while thousands of hectares of standing crops have also been destroyed by the water.

Provincial authorities have established some 21 centres in five districts to provide relief assistance in the form of food and medical facilities to affected communities.

Afghan refugees living in NWFP have been affected, with the flooding causing extensive damage to low-lying Khazana and Michni refugee camps near Peshawar. A Karach-based relief organisation, the Al-Rashid Trust, has pitched tents in Peshawar for Afghans from Khazana Camp, affected when the Shah Alam river burst its banks. Trust staff has also been providing edible items and other medical assistance to the families housed in temporary shelters.

[ENDS]

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