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Pakistan: Rain Fury Kills 49, Emergency Declared In Southwest

A total 21 people died in Punjab, where more rains were expected this week, Arfan Kathia, a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority, said.

AP
Some deaths took place after lightning struck farmers harvesting wheat, officials said Photo: AP
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Heavy rains have pounded Pakistan, killing at least 49 people across the country and collapsing dozens of houses, prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency in the southwest. Lightning and other rain-related incidents have led to the deaths in the past three days, officials said Monday.

Some deaths took place after lightning struck farmers harvesting wheat, officials said. Rains led dozens of houses to collapsing in the northwest and in eastern Punjab province of Pakistan.

A total 21 people died in Punjab, where more rains were expected this week, Arfan Kathia, a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority, told news agency PTI.

Khursheed Anwar, a spokesman for the disaster management authority in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, said 21 people died there.

Rain also lashed the capital, Islamabad, killing seven people in southwestern Baluchistan province. Streets flooded in the northwestern city of Peshawar and in Quetta, the Baluchistan capital.

Unusually Heavy Rain For April

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in televised remarks that he had ordered authorities to provide relief aid, adding that country's water reservoirs would improve because of the rains.

Rafay Alam, a Pakistani environmental expert, said such heavy April rainfall is unusual.

“Two years ago, Pakistan witnessed a heat wave in March and April and now we are witnessing rains and it is all of because of climate change, which had caused heavy flooding in 2022,” news agency PTI quoted him as saying.

In 2022, torrential rains swelled rivers and at one point inundated one-third of Pakistan, killing 1,739 people. The floods also caused $30 billion in damage.

Meanwhile, heavy flooding from seasonal rains in Afghanistan killed 33 people and injured 27 others in three days, according to Abdullah Janan Saiq, the Taliban's spokesman for the State Ministry for Natural Disaster Management.

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