PESHAWAR: At least 1,400 people have been killed as a result of torrential rains and subsequent floods in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, General Officer Commanding (GOC) Major-General Ghayoor Mahmood said on Friday. At least 213 people are still missing, he added.
Briefing reporters at the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar, he said that flash floods have destroyed 470 villages and 31,044 houses, washed away 92 large and 125 small bridges across the province.
“Flash floods have also washed away 217 schools and colleges and 52 hospitals,” Gen Mahmood said.
He said that the army was beginning the reconstruction of bridges following rescue activities in the flood-hit areas. He said that work on the Chakdarra Bridge had started, adding that US will provide funds for 30 other bridges while Britain will fund 66 more.
At least 20,000 soldiers are taking part in relief activities, the GOC said, adding that the military rescued at least 300 Chinese and 18 Japanese nationals. “Soldiers also saved 3,780 tourists in the province.”
He informed that the 27 helicopters, 150 boats and 170 marines are being used in relief activities.
Warning of more rains ahead, the GOC said that there was a threat of flooding in Dera Ismail Khan.
He said that Pakistan Army was keeping an eye on all situations. He said that despite the floods, the security situation was under control and action is being taken against militants.
Meanwhile, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told a media briefing that the number of affected families stood at 590,712, which translates into 4.2 million people.
He said that 35,161 people have so far been rescued. “There are at least 100,000 people still stranded in flood-hit areas.”
Hussain said that floods had killed 919 in the province and 836 others injured during the floods and rains in the province. He said that 855,756 people were rendered homeless and 468 villages were destroyed and 135, 000 houses were destroyed, while 56,799 were partially damaged.
He said that 169 educational institutions, 38 health centres, 307 irrigations schemes were destroyed.
He said that rains had killed 9,738 cattle heads and destroyed crops over 26,737 acres, 87 government buildings, 561 transformers, 172 pylons and five grid stations had also been destroyed.
He said that relief camps had been set up in 385 government buildings where 15,349 families had been accommodated. He said that the flood situation in Lakki Marwat and Bannu districts remained normal on Friday; however, three people died in separate incidents of electrocution and drowning, while the helicopter service remained suspended in Swat.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2010.
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