ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) — Heavy monsoon rains that triggered flooding in northern Pakistan has killed at least 26 people and destroyed more than 100 houses, according to a preliminary assessment released by authorities on Thursday. The death toll is likely to rise.
The heavy rainfall began earlier this week and forecasters expect the harsh conditions will continue in the northern region of the country. The worst-hit area is Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where emergency officials have reported that at least seventeen people were killed and nine others were injured.
Among the victims in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are six people who were killed and two others who were injured when flash floods and a landslide hit the Bagh district, destroying 72 houses and damaging 48 others. Three others were killed when a house collapsed in Mirpur district.
In Muzaffarabad district, flash floods and landslides destroyed 52 houses and damaged 238 others, killing four people and injuring three others, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). One person was killed when flash floods hit the Kotli district, damaging 102 houses, destroying seven bridges, 10 water mills and two poultry farms. Some 2,000 poultry birds were killed.
The other three fatalities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir were reported in the Hattian and Poonch districts. Authorities said two people died in the Poonch district, where heavy rainfall destroyed two houses and damaged 42 others. One person was killed and two others were injured when a landslide hit a vehicle in the Hattian district.
Nine people were further killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but an assessment is still being carried out in several regions. Authorities said six people were killed in the Mansehra district while three others died in a flash flood in the Nowshera district. The flash flood there damaged five houses, a bridge, and killed some 80 livestock.
No casualties were reported in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, but an NDMA spokesman said about 70 houses there were damaged as a result of flash floods and agriculture land has been affected. No serious damage or casualties have so far been reported in Punjab province.
Earlier this year, the Pakistani government warned that nearly 30 million people across the country could be affected by flooding this year, advising local government officials and local citizens for adequate preparedness. Millions of people were also affected by the monsoon season last year, killing more than 300 people. Some areas saw the worst rainfall since at least 1936.
In late July 2010, above-average heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions killed approximately 2,000 people and affected around 20 million others as floods covered about a fifth of the country. Torrential rains overflooded rivers, which went cascading across the country from the mountainous north, inundating successive regions until they reached the sea. It was the country’s worst flooding in modern history.