PESHAWAR: A severe storm in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), dubbed a “mini-cyclone”, has killed 44 people and injured more than 200, officials said Monday, raising their previous death toll.
Intense rain and strong winds buffeted Peshawar and adjacent districts late Sunday, felling trees, causing dozens of roofs and walls to collapse and blocking many roads.
The injured include nearly 100 children, according to officials, while farmers have seen their produce badly affected.
“At least 44 people have been killed and 202 wounded. The storm followed by heavy rain and hailstorm has severely damaged wheat crops and orchards,” Provincial Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani told AFP.
Ghani said that authorities were estimating the losses and expressed fear that hundreds of cattle have been killed.
Clearing himself of blame, the K-P information minister said the Met department under the federal government is responsible for the damage caused by rains.
“Met department doesn’t have the capacity to issue correct and timely weather advisory,” Ghani said.
Electricity was still suspended in Peshawar and in parts of Nowshera and Charsadda.
Ghani said at least 29 people were killed in Peshawar, 10 in Charsadda and five in Nowshera.
The injured were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and district headquarters hospitals of Charsadda and Nowshera.
Aamir Afaq, a senior official of the provincial disaster management authority, confirmed the death toll and told AFP that efforts were underway “to provide food, shelters and emergency medical services to the affectees”.
An AFP reporter in Peshawar said rescue workers were removing fallen trees to open roads while engineers from mobile phone companies were repairing the towers.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, currently in London, through telephonic contact with Chairman National Disaster Management Authority directed him to expedite rescue activities in the rain affected areas.
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Pervez Khattak directed management of the hospitals to provide proper health care to all the injured people.
Further President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Governor Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and leaders of different political parties have expressed deep sorrow over the lost lives.
The K-P government has announced compensation of five hundred thousand rupees for each family who have lost a family member in the storms. Similarly, each injured person will receive fifty thousand rupees.
Assessment will also be made to ascertain financial losses to compensate all the affected people.