Monsoon rains, flooding kill hundreds in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD • Monsoon rains and flooding killed more than 400 people across Pakistan during the rainy season this year, authorities said Friday.
Pakistan suffers every year from flooding caused by massive monsoon rains that sweep across the country late in the summer and cause rivers and streams to overflow.
The National Disaster Management Authority said 422 people have been killed and nearly 3,000 have been injured during the season of heavy rains. About five million people have been affected by the resulting floods, according to statistics that were posted on the authority's website.
Sindh province in southeastern Pakistan was the hardest hit with 239 deaths.
An official with the authority, Maj. Iftikhar Ahmed, told The Associated Press that the rainfall this year was significantly less than in 2010, when catastrophic floods put one-fifth of the country under water and killed 1,985 people. Last year 443 people were killed in flood-related incidents.
Pakistan has in recent years struggled to cope with the chaos, caused by the rains and flooding around the country. Authorities have often relied on international help to provide those affected by the floods with food, water and housing.
UNICEF called on international donors to provide $15.4 million to help protect people affected by the flooding over the next three to six months. In a statement Friday, the UN agency said it has been helping with supplies of drinking water to people affected by floods in the provinces of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh.
"Some of the affected children are living in areas that are experiencing devastating flooding for the second or third time over the past three years, and these new floods have disrupted their recovery," said UNICEF Pakistan Deputy Representative, Karen Allen.
As Pakistan struggles with another natural disaster, the country is also trying to suppress a violent insurgency in the northwest.
A senior police officer died Friday while defusing a roadside bomb in Peshawar, a city that is considered the gateway to Pakistan's volatile tribal regions, from which violence often spills over into its streets.
Hakam Khan rushed to the city's Matni neighborhood after being alerted that insurgents had planted two bombs near a road, which is used by security convoys, traveling to the Khyber tribal region, said senior police officer Fazal Mola Dad.
Khan successfully defused one bomb, but while he was working on the second one, it exploded. Khan had played a key role in battling militants and defused dozens of bombs in recent years, Dad said.