25 dead as heavy monsoon rains hit Punjab



LAHORE: At least 25 people have been killed in roof collapses caused by heavy monsoon rains in Punjab, officials said Thursday, as authorities warned more intense rainfall and flash floods could be imminent.

Thirteen people alone were killed in the provincial capital Lahore. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced Rs0.5 million for each of the deceased and Rs0.1 million for each of the injured.

Electricity and transport systems in the city have also been badly affected because of the rain. Around 170 millimeters of rain has already been recorded in Lahore, while the government has been criticised for not doing more to mitigate against the dangers posed by seasonal rains washing away homes and farmland.

“At least 25 people have been killed in different incidents of roof collapses in Punjab province during the last 24 hours,” Jam Sajjad, a spokesman for rescue services told AFP.

He said the dead included women and children, and 28 people have been injured.

Rizwan Naseer, the director general of rescue services in Punjab confirmed the toll and said the injured were being moved to hospitals.

“We have been removing the debris to search for survivors and the injured,” Naseer said, adding that the toll is likely to rise as more information came in from around the province.

The country’s meteorological office warned that more heavy rain and thunderstorms were expected in Punjab and the north of the country in the coming 72 hours and could cause flooding in major rivers.

Pakistan has suffered deadly monsoon floods for at least the last four years — in 2013 178 people were killed and around 1.5 million affected by flooding around the country.

The floods of 2010 were the worst in Pakistan’s history, with 1,800 people killed and 21 million affected in what became a major humanitarian crisis.


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