Flash floods kill 22 in Azad Kashmir

People collect their belongings from their house that collapsed due to flooding in Neelum Valley of Pakistani controlled Kashmir, Monday, July 15, 2019. Pakistan says many people are missing and feared dead after heavy rains triggered flash floods in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. Ahmed Raza Qadri, the Pakistani minister for disaster management in the disputed territory, says the flooding late on Sunday also caused much destruction and damage in the village of Lesswa in Neelum Valley. (AP Photo)
Updated 16 July 2019

Flash floods kill 22 in Azad Kashmir

  • Heavy rains damaged dozens of houses in the area
  • Pakistan army partakes in rescue operations

ISLAMABAD: Heavy rains and flash floods killed at least 22 people in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, an official from the State Disaster Management Authority of Azad Kashmir told Arab News on Tuesday.
Flash floods caused by a heavy cloud burst adversely impacted Leswa Village in the Neelum Valley on Monday night, with more than 150 houses, shops and mosques impacted in the area, Ahmed Raza Qadri, Minister for State Disaster Management Authority of Azad Kashmir said.
Rescue teams comprising officials of district administration, disaster management authority and local police are conducting search and rescue operations in the area, Qadri added. 
According to the Azad Kashmir government’s media wing, the missing persons include two Frontier Works Organization (FWO) personnel, nine locals and 11 others who were visiting the area preaching in the mosques.
Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has expressed deep concern and grief over the loss of precious lives and property due to the flooding.
“On ground rescue and relief operations headed by the Deputy Commissioner Neelum are underway in which teams from the State Disaster Management Authority and AJK-Red Crescent have been mobilized to assist the local administration,” Khan said.
He added that the district administration is also working closely with teams from the Pakistan army to assist in the rescue operations. 
Neelam Valley is a popular tourist destination located near the Line of Control (LoC) — the de facto border that splits Kashmir between Pakistan and India.


China’s Sinopharm ties up with Karachi University to supply coronavirus vaccines to Pakistan

Updated 47 min 35 sec ago

China’s Sinopharm ties up with Karachi University to supply coronavirus vaccines to Pakistan

  • Pakistan would conduct Phase 1 trials and then move rapidly to the final-stage Phase 3 trial, which requires tens of thousands of volunteers
  • Pakistan would receive enough vaccine to cover around a fifth of its population in the initial months of production

ISLAMABAD: State-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group, also known as Sinopharm, has tied up with Pakistan’s Karachi University’s International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences to supply coronavirus vaccines to Pakistan, international media has reported, quoting Pakistani government officials.
The developing world— which often lacks both a pharmaceutical industry to develop, test and produce vaccines and the money to purchase them from elsewhere— has been forced to seek supplies from allies or from international groups attempting to obtain vaccines for poor countries.
China hasn’t been a major vaccine producer globally. It needs to test its Covid-19 vaccines outside its borders, because coronavirus cases in China have dwindled and it is harder to find the population diversity required.
“Pakistan would get the vaccine on a priority basis,” an official involved in forging the agreement told the Wall Street Journal.
Pakistan would conduct Phase 1 trials of the vaccine and then move rapidly to the final-stage Phase 3 trial, which requires tens of thousands of volunteers. If the vaccine is safe and effective, Pakistan would receive enough vaccine to cover around a fifth of its population in the initial months of production, according to Pakistani officials who said financial terms hadn’t yet been worked out.
Pakistan, one of China’s closest allies in the developing world, will receive enough doses early in distribution to vaccinate the most vulnerable among its population of 220 million, including the elderly, health-care workers and people with medical conditions associated with serious cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
About one-fifth of the country’s population could be covered by the allocation, the officials said.
The agreement, among the first China has reached as part of its efforts to test its coronavirus vaccine in populations beyond its borders, comes amid a global competition for access to vaccines that are now entering trials and expected to come to market in coming months.
Negotiations are under way with a second Chinese company to trial its vaccine in Pakistan, officials said.