‘National tragedy’ as monsoon rains claim 77 lives in Pakistan

Sherry Rehman warns more heavier downpours lay ahead: 39 die in Balochistan: 300 houses damaged: NDMA says more rains to lash province in next 48 hours: Dead bodies of three colliers found in Thatta

By: News Desk
Published: 12:09 PM, 6 Jul, 2022
‘National tragedy’ as monsoon rains claim 77 lives in Pakistan
Caption: Children carrying household items wade through a flooded area after a monsoon rainfall in Quetta.–AFP
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At least 77 people have died in monsoon rains lashing Pakistan, the country's climate change minister said Wednesday, warning more heavier-than-usual downpours lay ahead.

"For me, it's a national tragedy," Sherry Rehman told a news conference in the capital, adding the toll was taken from June 14, when the monsoon started. "When people die like that, it's not a small thing... It is just the beginning. We have to prepare for it."

Most of the deaths were in Balochistan, where 39 people drowned or were electrocuted by downed power lines.

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.

Poorly built homes across Pakistan -- particularly in rural areas -- are prone to collapse in floods, which also destroy huge tracts of prime farmland.

The worst floods of recent times were in 2010 -- covering almost a fifth of the country's landmass -- killing nearly 2,000 people and displacing 20 million.

Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable country to extreme weather caused by climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index compiled by environmental NGO Germanwatch.

"One day you have drought and next morning you are expecting flash flood... so you can see how serious the situation is in Pakistan", Sherry Rehman said.

Monsoon rains continued to play havoc across Balochistan in general and Quetta in particular with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Wednesday announcing that the monsoon spell will lash many parts of the province during the next 48 hours.

So far 39 people have lost their lives in Balochistan rains most in Quetta which was declared a disaster-hit area.

In district Kechh of Balochistan, three kids were swept away by rain currents. The children were aged between eight to 10 years. The PDMA has recovered the bodies of all three children.

Two persons died each in Kila Saifullah and Khuzdar.

In Quetta, six people from the Hindu community lost their lives due to the havoc of monsoon rains.

Around 300 houses were either partially damaged or their roofs completely collapsed due to the heavy monsoon spell.

The rain spell would continue for the next 48 hours. The NDMA managing director directed assistant commissioners of relevant districts to calculate the losses of property.

Monsoon rains continued for a second day in several districts of Balochistan on Wednesday. Due to torrential rains, the rivers and canals of the province have overflowed. 

According to the Balochistan Disaster Management Authority, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, Pishin and Harnai districts have been the most affected by the rains, whereas flood conditions have also been reported in Muslim Bagh, Qamaruddin and Khushnoob.

There were flashfloods overnight in several villages of Khushnoob, and a link bridge was swept away, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach the affected people.

Moreover, the link roads of Kan Mehtarzai, Loi Band, and Ragha Sultanzai were washed away in the floods.

The Chaman administration has said that more than 70 houses were affected by the floods in Badizai and Torkhel areas, while the Harnai-Punjab-Loralai Highway has been closed for traffic due to torrential rains.

According to Levies officials, part of the Valin Dam in the Afghan border area of ​​Qamaruddin broke, causing water to enter low-lying areas and flood 11 homes. The affectees have been shifted to safer places.

 Dead bodies of three colliers found in Thatta

 The dead bodies of three colliers were found in a mine in Thatta on Wednesday. 

According to reports, 10 colliers were stuck in the mine yesterday due to heavy rains. The local administration started rescue operation for their recovery since last night. They pulled out 3 dead bodies from the mine but 7 mineworkers were still missing. 

The colliers hails from Swat. 

Reporter Rizwan Saeed 

With inputs from AFP.