(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

At least 16 dead, hundreds stranded as floods hit north

More and more areas are being inundated as floods spread south
Abdul Majeed Goraya/IRIN

In what appears to be a repeat - on a limited scale - of the 2010 flood disaster in Pakistan with northern areas affected mainly by flash floods sweeping down from the mountains after heavy rain, at least 16 people have died in the remote Kohistan District of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Province (KP).

Speaking to IRIN from Islamabad, National Disaster Management Authority spokesman Ahmed Kamal said: “Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far but the death toll could rise to 30 or 35.” He said “dozens” of houses had been swept away, and that, following a request from the provincial authorities, helicopters would be sent in for relief efforts.

The Swat Valley region, which is adjacent to Kohistan, had been badly affected in 2010 but this time it was the turn of the Kundian Valley area of Kohistan where heavy rains caused torrents to race down towards villages, sweeping people, their homes and belongings into waterways.

“My uncle, who lives in our home village in Kundian told us his house had been flooded, and the agricultural land around it destroyed. Other people have lost relatives and homes,” Nur Gul, 30, told IRIN from Dasu, the principal town in the Kohistan area. He also said local people were for the most part conducting rescue efforts on their own.

“The remote locations of the areas affected make rescue operations very difficult to organize,” said Kohistan District police officer Mohammad Ilyas.

The Pakistan Meteorological Office has predicted more heavy rain in parts of KP as monsoon currents reach northern parts of the country.

According to media reports, hundreds of people are still stranded in remote areas of the flood-hit region. “There has been a lot of damage, and people in Kundian and villages around the area are facing many perils,” Nur Gul said. “More help is needed for them.”


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