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Unusual rains in Pakistan, death toll rises to 39

PAKISTAN: Heavy rainfall wreaked havoc in several parts of Pakistan, with the death toll rising to 39 in rain-related incidents on Tuesday.

The rains initially started affecting the northern part of the country including Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral and parts of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) where two people were reported dead as roof of houses caved in. In addition, landslides blocked major highways including the strategic Karakoram Highway, the only land route connecting Pakistan with China via Khunjerab top in Gilgit-Baltistan.

However by Sunday, the rains spread to other parts of the country, resulting in another 37 casualties besides loss to property and infrastructure.

In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 21 people lost their lives, while the Balochistan government declared an “urban flood emergency”, media reported on Tuesday.

The torrential rains, accompanied by thunderstorms, have also affected Pakistan’s biggest province, Punjab. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed condolences over the loss of lives and directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to coordinate relief efforts with the provinces.

In KP, the affected districts include Chitral, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, and Swat, among others. Landslides triggered by the rains have blocked roads and disrupted transportation across the province.

Meanwhile, in Balochistan, the situation remains dire, with 10 reported deaths and widespread damage to infrastructure. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) imposed an “urban flood emergency” in Quetta, as incessant rains caused flooding in various areas.

In the Azad Kashmir, at least three people drowned in Neelum Valley, while four others sustained injuries in rain-related incidents in the capital town of Muzaffarabad. Landslides and flooding have blocked roads, posing risks to properties and inhabitants.

As the inclement weather persists, the Pakistan Meteorological Department has forecast more rain, wind, and thunderstorms across the country. The PMD warned of potential flash flooding, landslides, and disruptions to transportation networks in several regions.

Pakistan has experienced an increase in extreme weather events, as it grapples with the impacts of climate change.

In 2022, one-third of the country was completely submerged by unprecedented flooding, killing more than 1,700 people and injuring thousands. Millions were left homeless and lacking clean drinking water for months after.

Some of the areas affected by the 2022 floods, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, are being impacted again by the recent storms.

According to BBC, Scientists have said that global warming is likely to have played a role in the devastating floods that hit Pakistan in 2022. Pakistan is also ranked as the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change, according to the UN’s Global Climate Risk Index.


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