Disasters & Accidents

Thousands evacuated as flash floods kill nearly 1,000 in Pakistan

Update 1: Changes headline, adds detail throughout

Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug 27 (EFE-EPA).- Thousands of people were evacuated in Pakistan’s northwest on Saturday after a season of heavy monsoon rains triggered flash floods that have killed almost 1,000 people.

“Thousands of people have been evacuated throughout the day and thousands have been told to evacuate,” Muhammed Khan, local administrator of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Nowshera, one of the most affected towns in the northeastern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, told Efe.

The official said the water level in the Kabul River that flows across northwestern Pakistan exceeded 250,000 cubic feet per second, making it a “very high flood” for which an alert was issued in the area.

Announcements on mosque loudspeakers and from local authority patrol teams have also been urging people to evacuate, Khan added.

At least 982 people have been killed by heavy monsoon rains across the country in the past two months, according to Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority.

The rainfall has also left nearly 1,500 injured since it began on June 14.

The interior minister on Saturday confirmed that the Pakistani army had been deployed in all four provinces to assist local governments with the emergency.

“The flood situation is being continuously monitored from the control room established in the Ministry of Interior,” minister Rana Sanaullah said in a statement.

“Flood-affected people will not be left alone, saving human lives is the first priority,” the politician added.

More than 33 million people have been affected by floods, Pakistan’s climate change minister, Sherry Rehman, said.

“No one thought rainfall averages would go through the roof this high or so unrelentingly, inundating the south, and now rivers rising dangerously in the north of Pakistan,” Senator Rehman said on Twitter.

Rehman also shared data published by the met office showing that during the month of August the Sindh (southeast) and Balochistan (southwest) provinces presented large deviations from average expected rainfall.

“Our cities are not designed for such torrential downpours without a break,” the climate minister warned.

“We are, at the moment, at the ground zero, the frontline, of extreme weather events in an unrelenting cascade of heat waves, forest fires, multiple glacial lake outbursts, flood events, and now, the monster monsoon of the decade is wreaking nonstop havoc throughout the country,” Rehman warned on Friday.

Pakistan is among the 10 countries most affected by climate change in the world.

The South Asian nation was struck by an intense heat wave earlier this year that caused numerous deaths and property losses for thousands of people.

During the monsoon season in South Asia — which lasts from June to September — landslides and floods are common.EFE-EPA


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