MUZAFFARABAD / RAWALPINDI / FAISALABAD / LAHORE:Heavy thunderstorms continued to pummel the upper parts of the country on Friday, leaving behind a wide trail of destruction across Punjab and Azad Kashmir and doubling the fatality count over the past 24 hours.
Officials confirmed the deaths of more than 100 people and said another 200 sustained injuries in rain-related incidents. Most of the fatalities were caused by roof collapses, mudslides and electrocutions, they said.
Flashfloods triggered by rain swept away dozens of homes and left at least 20 more people dead in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region.
According to police, 11 people were killed when their houses collapsed in different areas of Sudhanati district, some 190 kilometres from Muzaffarabad.
In Muzaffarabad, flashfloods damaged the Neelum Park and Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) bridge of Neelum-Jehlum Hydel Power Project on River Jehlum near Majhoi. The raging waters also damaged the Cement Mixing Plant of Neelum-Jehlum power house in the same area.
Up to three rivers — Neelum, Jehlum and Poonch — are flowing above the danger mark and in view of the rising water levels, the State Disaster Mangement Authority (SDMA) has asked people living along the riverbank to relocate to safer areas.
Dozens of houses were damaged or swept away by the floodwater of River Neelum in the Central Plate area of Muzaffarabad. The flood waters swamped hotels and shops in Talimandi in the capital city.
The incessant rains have also damaged the roads in Hajeera, Bagh, Havayli and Sudhanati while the main road connecting Muzaffarabad with Islamabad remained closed at Kohala. The road leading up to the Neelum Valley was also blocked by large boulders and stones carried down by landslides along different areas.
Army soldiers carried out rescue operations in Hajeera and Rawalakot. They are working round the clock to clear the vital road of Hajeera and Rawalakot damaged by the torrential rains and landslides.
In Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), the thunderstorms triggered landslides. In one instance at least eight people in Niyat Valley of Diamer district were swept away on Friday, taking the death toll to 11 across the G-B.
Another landslide struck Karis in Ghanche district, killing three car passengers and injuring two others. Two people were also wounded when the roof of a house collapsed in Kwardo, Skardu.
The landslides also swept away parts of Gilgit-Skardu road, suspending traffic between the two towns. Similarly, traffic between Gilgit and Rawalpindi was also suspended after the Karakoram Highway was damaged in Chilas and Kohistan.
Following a spell of rain, the water levels in Ghizer, Hunza, Astor and Skardu rivers have also risen to an alarming level, threatening the lives and properties of those living in the low-lying areas. In Hazara district of Khyber Pakhtunkwa (K-P) around six villagers were killed and another injured when the roofs of two houses collapsed in different parts.