49 killed as rain wreaks havoc in Pakistan
Islamabad, April 17 (IANS): At least 49 people have been killed as torrential downpours wreaked havoc, damaging more than 100 houses since the beginning of April in parts of Pakistan, officials said on Wednesday.
The toll included 15 deaths since Monday. Most of the casualties were caused as roofs and walls of several houses collapsed due to unseasonal rain and hail, Efe news reported.
Some 175 people were injured.
According to the latest figures released by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan, 117 houses were destroyed by the pre-monsoon rain.
Punjab, Pakistan’s second biggest province after Balochistan, was the worst-hit by the rain. At least 15 people died and 94 were injured here in the last two days, provincial disaster management director Rashid Ahmed said.
“The majority died in roof and wall collapse incidents,” Ahmed said.
The rain and hailstorms destroyed wheat crops in Punjab province. It is the most populous in Pakistan and is home to more than half of the country’s total 207 million population.
Other badly affected areas included northwestern tribal regions, where 14 people have died and 19 injured since April 4, regional NDMA spokesperson Adil Zahoor said.
The NDMA said that the Meteorological Department had predicted that the rain will stop from Wednesday.
The worst floods in the history of Pakistan took place in 2010 after an extraordinarily heavy monsoon, which came on the back of an especially pronounced summer melt, claiming 2,000 lives and affecting over 20 million people.