Protests in Pakistan over relief

Rescuers struggle to reach communities cut off by severe floods.

    The death toll after Tuesday's cyclone and flooding in Pakistan has risen to about 60 [AFP]

    A cyclone struck Baluchistan, Pakistan's southwest province on Tuesday, three days after a storm destroyed Karachi, the nation's biggest city, killing around 230 people.

    Floods submerged four districts and inundated three others causing severe damage to roads, bridges, railway lines and even severed a natural gas pipeline.

     

    The death toll from the cyclone and flooding in Pakistan has risen to about 60.

     

    Witnesses in the town of Turbat, near the Iranian border, said police fired teargas to break up a protest by survivors who raided a government agency and the office of a pro-government party.

     

    Qambar Baloch said: "The people are complaining that they're not getting relief assistance."

     

    Cut off

     

    Khuda Bakhsh Baluch, a Pakistani relief commissioner, said the main problem he faced was getting help to the tens of thousands of people cut off by floods.

     

    "It rained throughout the province last night, but this is the normal monsoon. The worry now is not rain. The main problem is communication," Baluch said.

     

    A fleet of aircraft, including more than a dozen military helicopters and several C-130 cargo aircraft, were called in but the rain hindered their flight.

     

    "We're considering flying C-130s to areas which have airports. We'll dump relief goods and from there they'll be distributed, but many areas don't have airports," Baluch said.

     

    Across the border in Afghanistan, heavy rain caused widespread flooding that has killed more than 40 people, destroyed roads and damaged homes and irrigation systems.

     

    Approaching storm

     

    In India, tens of thousands of people on the east coast were clearing out of the path of a storm approaching from the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

     

    "The storm is very close to Puri town on the Orissa coast and is likely to cross over the mainland any time," said L.V. Prasad Rao, director of a cyclone warning centre.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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