PESHAWAR: Authorities in northwestern Pakistan stepped up relief activities and ordered the evacuation of over 380,000 people living near flood-swollen rivers, as the death toll from devastating monsoon rains neared 1,000.
Massive floods and rain-related incidents have killed 982 people and affected more than 30 million in Pakistan, which has declared a national emergency as unprecedented downpours continue to pummel the country for the third consecutive month.
Southern Sindh and southwestern Balochistan provinces have been the worst hit, but since Friday, parts of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have also faced severe destruction.
“Provincial authorities have established 17 relief camps in Charsaddah to accommodate around 180,000 people, including women and children,” Taimur Ali, spokesperson of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), told Arab News.
Asif Ali, the focal person for flood relief and additional deputy commissioner Nowshera, told Arab News that the water level at River Kabul continues to increase.
“We’ve evacuated around 200,000 people to safer places,” he said. “We’ve provided them with blankets, mattresses and other daily use commodities.”
On Friday, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province declared an emergency also in the Swat district, where officials said more than 1,000 tourists were stranded after massive floods washed away roads and key infrastructure in several areas.
Ibrar Wazir, the focal person for floods and additional deputy commissioner Swat, told Arab News that his administration has received two helicopters, one from the provincial government and another from Pakistan Army for rescue and relief operations in Kalam in Swat valley.
“Families including children and women would be rescued from Shahi Ground in Kalam to safer areas. Helicopters will take food and bring back tourists too, who have been stuck there,” he said.
Kamran Bangash, the provincial government’s spokesperson on the ongoing flood situation, told Arab News that the KP government had mobilized all its resources on an emergency basis to the most affected districts, but some remain inaccessible.
“All of a sudden, floods caused ravages in Nowshera and Charsaddah districts because the water flow at Munda Headworks located near Charsadda district was 200,000 cusecs but the floods caused the water flow to surge to 300,000 cusecs, which triggered massive floods in Nowshera and other surrounding areas,” he said.
“The intensity and damages of floods were more severe than expected.”