Thunderstorms lash parts of Pakistan, triggering floods

At least 14 people killed while military helicopters pressed into service to evacuate stranded people in Balochistan.

    The flash floods come less than a month after heavy rains caused flooding in different cities of Pakistan, including Peshawar [File: Muhammad Sajjad/AP]
    The flash floods come less than a month after heavy rains caused flooding in different cities of Pakistan, including Peshawar [File: Muhammad Sajjad/AP]

    Islamabad, Pakistan - At least 14 people have been killed in Pakistan as parts of the country have been lashed by thunderstorms and high winds, triggering flash floods in some areas, provincial officials say.

    Eleven of those killed died in flooding in the southwestern Balochistan province, provincial official Muhammad Younus told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.

    Three others died in Karachi, the country's largest city, from injuries resulting from high winds knocking over roofs, electricity poles and other infrastructure, hospital officials said.

    "The provincial disaster management authority is engaged in relief and rescue work," said Younis, a disaster management official based in Balochistan. "We have teams en route to Kohlu and other areas, There are still some places where people are stranded."

    Most of those killed in the province perished after flash floods following rains that began on Sunday evening, he said.

    On Tuesday, Pakistan's meteorological department said the country would continue to feel the effects of a westerly wave system that would bring thunderstorms and further gusts of wind.

    The weather system's effects are expected to continue until at least Wednesday, the department said in a statement.

    On Tuesday, parts of Balochistan received up to 40mm of rain, with heavy rainfall in southern Punjab province as well.

    National Disaster Management Authority spokesperson Mukhtar Ahmed told Al Jazeera that military helicopters were aiding in the evacuation of some of those stranded in Balochistan.

    Karachi 'in turmoil'

    In Karachi, a sprawling metropolis of more than 18 million people, high winds saw streetlights, electricity poles and trees thrown flying across busy roads on Monday, as residents ducked for any available cover.

    "The whole city was in turmoil with the gusty winds, and the city didn't look like it could take it," said Seemin Jamali, a senior hospital official at the city's main government Jinnah hospital.

    "Streetlights fell over even inside the hospital complex. The electric poles were swaying, and trees were falling," she said.

    At least 66 patients were treated for injuries - mainly fractures or head injuries - over the course of the storm, Jamali told Al Jazeera.

    Three people died from their injuries, she said.

    Building codes are often only sporadically enforced in Pakistan, resulting in widespread instances of roof and wall collapses during floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

    April is harvest season across much of Pakistan for rabi, or spring, crops such as wheat, barley and mustard, and authorities put out a specific caution to farmers to be vigilant for the possibility of further flooding through the week.

    Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera's digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News