Rain incidents claim 77 lives across Pakistan


ISLAMABAD — At least 77 people have lost their lives so far in the current spell of heavy rains across Pakistan, said Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman on Wednesday.

Nearly half of the victims were reported in southwestern Balochistan province, she noted in a press conference in Islamabad. “The figure includes children, men and women. We are trying to reach out to locals with the help of the national and provincial disaster management authorities,” the minister noted.

Rehman said that urban flooding had been reported in Quetta, Pasni and Turbat areas of Balochistan. “The water levels are high and people need to be careful because the monsoon patterns are changing. At this moment, the rains across Pakistan are 87 percent more than the average downpour,” she added.

“This is definitely a national tragedy,” Rehman told reporters. “When so many people are losing their lives. It’s not a minor thing and the state must be prepared to respond” to such tragedies. She said that pre-monsoon rains came in earlier than expected this year.”

Balochistan Provincial Disaster Management Authority, said an emergency was declared in the Quetta district of Balochistan after 20 people were reportedly killed. The dead included six women from the same family in Quetta.

“This is the beginning and we need to prepare for it,” she said, adding that the Climate Change Ministry had issued alerts to the nationals and provincial disaster management authorities to stay alert to deal with an emergency situation.

Balochistan received 274 percent more rainfall than the average while downpour in Sindh was recorded at 261 percent higher than the average, which the minister stressed was “alarming”. The rainfall rate increase in AJK was 49 percent while Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa received less than average rainfall in July.

Relief operations in the affected area were launched by the Quetta district administration and rescue teams. As per PDMA officials, over 50 mud houses collapsed in Sariab Mills area, Eastern Bypass, and other areas on the outskirts.

In Gwadar, army troops were helping the local administration to drain the water accumulated in several areas. According to the Met office, northern and central parts of Balochistan will receive more heavy rains with thunderstorms, reports said.

Meanwhile, two minors were killed in rain-related incidents in Karachi. The areas most affected by the rains include Quetta, Lasbela, Sibi, Harnai, Dakki, Kohlu, Barkhan, Zhob and Dera Bugti.

President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of lives and properties due to heavy rains in Quetta. Commiserating with the bereaved families, he prayed for the departed souls.

The president directed the authorities concerned to extend every possible assistance to the people affected by the calamity.

The monsoon, which usually lasts from June to September, is essential for irrigating crops and replenishing lakes and dams across the Indian subcontinent, but each year also brings a wave of destruction. — Agencies

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