Heavy Rains in Pakistan Kill Nearly 90
Nearly 90 people have been killed in torrential monsoon rains that wreaked havoc across Pakistan as flash floods swept through villages, prompting authorities to call in army troops for flood relief duties.
The downpour, being termed as one of the heaviest, started on Wednesday and is still continuing in parts of Punjab and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The authorities have issued an alert and army troops have been called in for flood relief duties and to evacuate people trapped in areas inundated after two-days of heavy downpour mostly in Rawalpindi, Sialkot and Gujranwala districts of Punjab province.
"At least 50 people including women and children died and 178 injured during the last 48 hours in different parts of Punjab province in rain-related incidents," Punjab Emergency Service spokesman Jam Sajjad said.
A Pakistan army soldier also drowned in Sialkot during a rescue operation.
In the mountainous PoK, nearly 38 people, including three soldiers, were killed while several others injured in landslides and flash floods which ravaged the region.
Most of the casualties occurred due to roof collapses and electric shocks.
The death toll was likely to rise as floodwaters have swept through several villages in rural areas.
Pakistan's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warned that there was a high risk of flooding in three towns along the Chenab river in Punjab and asked people to leave low-lying and vulnerable areas.
The army teams engaged in rescue operations in Punjab and PoK have rescued at least 350 people so far.
"Army troops have been moved for flood relief duties in Sialkot, Narowal, Head Marala, Wazirabad and Jalalpur Jattan. Troops will remain standby at Shahdara, Lahore," Military spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bjawa said in a statement.
An official from Meteorological Department said that some cities received heaviest rain in 30 years. Most cities received over 130mm of rain today while Lahore received a record 180mm.
The meteorological department issued a severe weather warning for northeast Punjab and PoK, saying more intense rain was expected which could trigger flash flooding.
The spillways of Rawal Dam were opened today as water in the reservoir reached maximum capacity due to heavy downpour.
The released water flowed towards adjacent areas of Islamabad and Rawalpindi causing large scale damage. At least 10 houses were completely destroyed.
The water level in the Chenab river is expected to rise further over next 24 hours, threatening low-lying areas of Sialkot and Gujranwala regions.
Pakistan regularly suffer from flooding during the monsoon season.
The floods of 2010 were the worst in Pakistan's history, with 1,700 people killed and 21 million affected. In 2013, 178 people were killed and around 1.5 million affected by flooding.
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