Pakistan

Rains, landslides kill 9 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir: officials

ISLAMABAD: At least nine people have been killed during five days of torrential rain and landslides in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), emergency officials said Thursday.

The deaths came as water channels swelled and people were left trapped in landslides in four mountainous districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The latest casualties bring the overall death toll from this year’s monsoon floods to at least 22, with over 200 buildings washed away in the worst-affected north.

Officials said the death toll and losses could increase because communication from the remote areas had been hampered due to heavy rains.

“According to available collective figures, so far nine people have been killed and seven others were injured,” Zaheer Qureshi, director general of the disaster management authority, told AFP.

“Up to 47 houses have been damaged while we are yet to get information from the cut-off remote mountainous villages,” he said.

On Wednesday, four people were killed when their pick-up truck was swept away by a seasonal stream in southwest Pakistan.

Every year since 2010, which saw the worst floods in Pakistan’s history, the country has experienced serious inundations that kill hundreds and wipe out millions of acres of prime farmland, harming the heavily agrarian economy.

According to a report by the National Disaster Management Authority, this season’s floods have so far killed three in the northwestern valley of Chitral while three others lost their lives in Punjab province’s Muzzafargarh district.

A further three were killed in the Baluchistan district of Zhob, the report added.

The flood has also washed away as many as 180 buildings including houses, shops and hotels in Chitral while damaging 15 bridges and 12 roads, the agency said.

In Punjab province, 244 villages have been hit by the flood including 39 houses.

The report said the River Indus, which flows 3,200 km (2000 miles) from Kashmir in the north to the port city of Karachi, was at significant risk of flooding over the coming days. -AFP

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