UPDATE 2 – 87 killed as rains wreak havoc in South Asia


By Aamir Latin and Shurriah Niazi

KARACHI, Pakistan / NEW DELHI, India (AA) – Torrential rains followed by flash floods have claimed scores of lives across India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, officials and local media said Wednesday.

The Met Office has forecast more rains in the next 24 to 48 hours as the region is under the grip of a westerly cycle of thunderstorms and gusty winds.

Thunderstorms in northern, central and western Indian states late on Tuesday have killed at least 33 people, local media reported.

The most affected state was Madhya Pradesh from where 16 deaths were reported, Chief Minister Kamal Nath confirmed.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his anguish over the loss of lives due to unseasonal rains.

“Authorities are monitoring the situation very closely. All possible assistance is being given to those affected, ” he tweeted.

  • Waist-deep water

In neighboring Pakistan, rains followed by flash floods have killed 39 and injured dozens in the last two days, officials and local media reported on Wednesday.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, a state-run agency that coordinates between different relief and rescue organizations, most of the deaths have been reported from northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and southwestern Balochistan provinces.

Also, some 80 houses have been completely or partially damaged in the two provinces, the authority said.

Heavy rains caused flash floods in parts of KP and Balochistan forcing hundreds of residents to move to safer places, while several cities of northeastern Punjab province also received heavy downpour, local broadcaster Geo News reported.

Footage aired on television showed several vehicles trapped in waist-deep water as rescue workers backed by army troops help them in parts of Balochistan.

The unseasonal rains flanked by gusty winds also downed trees, electricity poles and signboards in several cities apart from causing damage to standing crop of wheat, mainly in Punjab.

Most deaths were due to roof collapse and electrocution.

  • Framland inundated

Floods also caused widespread destruction in various parts of Afghanistan prompting authorities to issue flood warnings in vulnerable areas including the capital Kabul.

According to the country's National Disaster Management Authority, at least 15 people were killed in flood related incidents in various areas during the past 24 hours.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani chaired a high level meeting late on Tuesday to direct urgent rescue and relief measures in this regard.

The Afghan army has been called to help stranded people in flood-hit areas.

Western Herat province has been the worst hit. Jailani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor, told Anadolu Agency five people were killed and hundreds of hectares of land inundated.

  • Shadi Khan Saif contributed to the report from Kabul