Pakistan + 1 more

Rain hampers aid flights for Pakistani storm victims

By Gul Yusufzai

QUETTA, Pakistan, June 28 (Reuters) - Bad weather frustrated efforts to fly help to stranded Pakistani cyclone victims on Thursday as authorities said more areas were being flooded and up to 800,000 had been affected.

The cyclone struck Pakistan's southwest coast on Tuesday killing 17 people, three days after a storm battered the nation's biggest city, Karachi, killing about 230.

Early rainy season storms in India have killed about 150 people and stranded thousands, while a new storm looming off India's east coast threatened more devastation.

The cyclone that hit Pakistan's Baluchistan province inundated three districts and caused severe flooding in three others.

It washed away stretches of road and several bridges, and cut communications and power supplies. Floods also severed a major gas pipeline, cutting supplies to the provincial capital, Quetta.

"The rain is continuing. More and more areas are being inundated. Roughly 700,000 to 800,000 people have been affected," said Khuda Bakhsh Baluch, head of a provincial disaster management authority.

"There's no communication with the affected areas at all. Our people can't go because there are no roads ... Relief goods are ready but we can't ship them because we can't fly helicopters because of the rain," he told Reuters.


A region near the Iranian border was also in danger from the Mirani dam where water levels had reached a critical point.

"Right now the situation is under control but if the rain goes on and the water level rises further we might have to take drastic action. We'd have to breach the dam ourselves to allow an outflow," Baluch said.

Provincial government spokesman Raziq Bugti said eight aircraft, including five helicopters, had been brought in for the relief effort.

"People are in great difficulty ... They're clinging to trees or have taken shelter in mosques and schools," he said.

The Meteorological Department said scattered rain was expected across the region for the next two to three days.

Karachi, still recovering from last weekend's storm, was spared the full force of cyclone Yemyin but nevertheless five people were killed.

In neighbouring India, the second tropical storm in less than two weeks hovered over the Bay of Bengal bringing heavy rain to the eastern coastal states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

Four more people were killed in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday when landslides caused by torrential rain led houses to collapse, taking the total storm toll in India to about 155.

(Additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider in ISLAMABAD and a Reuters reporter in HYDERABAD)


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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