Flash Floods Kill 30 People in Northern Pakistan

At least 31 people have been killed and several others remain missing after heavy rain and flash floods hit northern Pakistan close to the Afghan border.

Mosques, several houses and an army post in Ursoon village in the southwest of Chitral district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province faced extensive damage after incessant rain caused flash floods early on Sunday.

Osama Ahmad Warraich, deputy commissioner of Chitral, told Al Jazeera that at least 11 people were still missing.

“Most bodies had been identified, however, some bodies might have been washed away to Afghanistan,” he said.

Warraich said the bad weather was hampering rescue efforts, but added that authorities had “called for helicopters to join rescue operations” in the area.

Chitral is in the far north of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province.

According to a spokesman for the disaster management authority, Yousuf Zia, the floods washed away a mosque on Saturday at the time when evening prayers were being held inside.

“Flood water swept away worshippers as they were offering Taraweeh prayers (extra prayers performed by Muslims during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan). Those bodies have been recovered,” he told Al Jazeera.

In April, rains and landslides killed at least 127 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan region and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Poorly-built homes across the country, particularly in rural areas, are susceptible to collapse during the annual spring and monsoon rains in July and August, which are often heavy.

During the rainy season last summer, torrential downpours and flooding killed at least 81 people and affected almost 300,000 people across Pakistan.

The worst flooding in recent times occurred in 2010, which covered almost a fifth of the country’s total land mass, killing nearly 2,000 people and displacing some 20 million.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera

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