At least 35 killed as Pakistan rains collapse buildings, trigger landslides

The majority of deaths were reported in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Residents row a boat to cross a flooded street after heavy rains in Gwadar in Balochistan province on March 2, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Residents row a boat to cross a flooded street after heavy rains in Gwadar in Balochistan province [AFP]

At least 35 people have been killed and 50 others injured due to heavy rains that have swept Pakistan since Thursday, causing several houses to collapse and landslides to block roads, particularly in the northwest, authorities said.

At least 30 rain-related deaths were reported in various areas in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan since Thursday night. Many of the fatalities were women and children, the provincial disaster management authority said in a statement on Sunday.

Five people died in the southwestern Balochistan province after the coastal town of Gwadar got flooded, forcing authorities to use boats to evacuate some 10,000 people.

Sarfraz Bugti, the chief minister in Balochistan, said on Sunday that 700 homes had been damaged.

Casualties and extensive damage were also reported in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, the National Disaster Management Authority said in a separate statement.

Emergency relief was being provided to people in affected areas and heavy machinery was being used to remove debris blocking highways, the agency added.

The Pakistan army has distributed 28 tonnes of food rations to more than 1,300 households and set up medical camps to treat the wounded, Pakistan’s Samaa TV reported.

The country’s Karakoram Highway, which links Pakistan with China, is still blocked in some places due to landslides, according to the spokesperson for the northern Gilgit Baltistan region, Faizullah Faraq.

Authorities advised tourists against travelling to the scenic north due to weather conditions. Last week, several visitors were stranded there because of the heavy rains, which came as Pakistan also witnessed severe snowfall.

Pakistan is among the 10 most vulnerable countries to climate change despite the South Asian nation’s almost zero contribution to global carbon emissions, according to the United Nations.

This year, Pakistan is witnessing an unusual delay in winter rains, starting in February instead of November. Monsoon and winter rains cause damage in Pakistan every year.

In 2022, climate-induced unusual monsoon rains and flooding in Pakistan killed nearly 1,800 people, affecting about 33 million people and displacing nearly eight million.

The rains and floods in 2022 also caused billions of dollars of damage to the country’s economy, and in some affected areas, people who lost their homes are still living in makeshift shelters.

Source: News Agencies