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Monsoon rains kill at least 89 in Pakistan

Monsoon rains kill at least 89 in Pakistan

Lahore: Two days of torrential monsoon rains have killed at least 89 people in Pakistan, officials said on Friday, as authorities ordered the evacuation of low-lying areas around a major river.

The deaths occurred in the most populous province Punjab and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, with majority of people getting killed by roof collapses and electric shocks. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) warned there was a high risk of flooding in three towns along the Chenab River in Punjab and asked people to leave low-lying and vulnerable areas. Communication links with other villages were lost due to the heavy monsoon.

Troops have been mobilized for flood relief duties in eastern Punjab and “will remain on standby in Lahore,” the provincial capital. Eight army helicopters and 80 boats are taking part in rescue operations around the province, the military said.
Pakistan has suffered deadly monsoon floods for the last four years. In 2013, 178 people were killed and around 1.5 million affected by flooding around the country. The floods of 2010 were the worst in Pakistan’s history, with 1,800 people killed and 21 million affected in what became a major humanitarian crisis.

Major streets and the Qaddafi cricket stadium in Lahore were flooded. At least 18 people have died and 53 others were injured. “At least 48 people have been killed and 174 others wounded in Punjab,” said Rizwan Naseer, the director general of rescue services in Punjab.

Residents living along the Neelum and Jhelum river banks in Muzaffarabad were evacuated as the water level was rapidly rising. Meanwhile, in mountainous Kashmir, three soldiers died on Thursday in a mudslide near the de facto border with India, which like Pakistan claims the territory as its own.

Pakistan’s meteorological office issued a severe weather warning for northeast Punjab and Kashmir, saying more intense rain was expected which could trigger flash flooding. The NDMA said that the town of Palandri in Kashmir had received more than 30 centimeters of rain in the 30 hours up to 2:00pm on Thursday.

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