Bus plunges into ditch, killing 20 in flood-hit southern Pakistan

A passenger minibus falls into a deep, water-filled ravine, killing 20 people, including nearly a dozen children.

Pakistan bus accident
A policeman stands beside the damaged passenger minibus in Sehwan of Sindh province in Pakistan [Husnain Ali/AFP]

At least 20 people have been killed in Pakistan’s flood-hit south after a minibus crashed into a deep and water-logged ditch.

The vehicle crashed late on Thursday in Sehwan region of the southern Sindh province, local police official Khadim Hussain told AFP news agency.

“The driver could not see the diversion sign on the road and so the van plunged into a 25-foot [8 metres] deep ditch” near the town of Sehwan Sharif, Hussain said on Friday.

Eleven children aged between two and eight years were killed in the crash, police said. A further 14 people were injured, two of them in critical condition.

Police officer Imran Qureshi told The Associated Press news agency the van was bringing passengers from Khairpur district to a famous Sufi shrine in Sehwan.

The road had been dredged in several places to drain out floodwater, but had not been repaired months later.

Pakistan was lashed by record monsoon rains this year that put a third of the country underwater, killed more than 1,700 people and battered its already crumbling infrastructure.

Southern Sindh province was the worst hit by flooding. The disaster affected 33 million people since mid-June and damaged or washed away two million homes.

Research has linked catastrophic flooding to climate change.

Pakistan is known to have poor road safety and a staggeringly high rate of road deaths, blamed on decrepit highways and reckless driving.

According to World Health Organization estimates, more than 27,000 people were killed on Pakistan’s roads in 2018.

Source: News Agencies