LAHORE, 6 August 2008 (IRIN) - Over 36 people have lost their lives after torrential rain and flash floods hit various parts of the country in the past two days.
According to reports by the Disaster Management Authority and Provincial Relief Commissioners, thousands have been rendered homeless as raging torrents swept away homes, destroyed crops over a wide area and killed livestock.
Many districts of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Khyber Agency have been badly affected.
NWFP Relief Commissioner Jamil Amjad said floodwater inundated over 50 villages in these areas. "Thousands of mud houses have been swept away and a loss of millions of rupees has been caused to the crops in Peshawar, Charsadda and Nowshehra districts," he said.
According to Pakistan's Geo TV, at least 22 people were killed in NWFP - 10 when the rescue boat they were in capsized. A bridge over a small river collapsed and the road leading to the Afghan border was also badly damaged.
Recent attacks by militants in NWFP's Swat Valley http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=79597 will not have made matters any easier for local people.
Premier chairs meeting
Pakistan's official news agency APP said Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on 5 August chaired a high-level meeting on the flood situation and directed the National Disaster Management Authority and its provincial branches, relief commissioners and non-governmental organisations to monitor the flood situation and take immediate action in the event of emergencies.
APP said the government had sufficient stocks of relief items like tents, plastic sheeting and mosquito nets in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Muzaffarabad.
In Punjab Province the worst affected districts were Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan where 12 were killed. According to Punjab Relief Commissioner Muhammad Sajjad, over 3,000 homes were swept away in these two districts. He put the number of displaced in Punjab at 82,000.
Express News TV reported on 5 August that two children were feared to have drowned in the Nullah Leh waste water channel which runs through the centre of Rawalpindi. The channel takes its toll every flood season as people have built houses on its banks, despite government warnings.
The heavy monsoon downpour also wreaked havoc in Lahore, with streets impassable due to flooding. According to police, a man and a pregnant woman died in the Mughalpura locality of Lahore when the roof of their home collapsed due to the rain.
The media have also reported damage to houses, livestock and crops in northern parts of Balochistan especially Harnai and Jhal Magsi.
According to an ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) press release, army rescue teams used helicopters to evacuate flood-affected people in NWFP and adjacent areas.