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Friday, July 30, 2010

Flash floods, storms kill over 350 across country

ISLAMABAD : Over 350 people have been killed by flash floods and bad weather, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, northern areas and Azad Jammu and Kashmir bearing the brunt of the storms.

Hundreds of homes and thousands of hectares (acres) of cultivated land have been destroyed.AFP adds: State media reported that the Karakoram Highway, which links Pakistan to China, was closed as rains washed away a bridge in Shangla district, also cutting off Gilgit-Baltistan from other parts of the country.Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour during his visit to the affected areas of Peshawar said more than 30,000 people had been displaced.Bridges were washed away and areas cut off as heavy rains swept away roads and disrupted communications.At least 29 people, including women and children, died Friday when a landslide hit their houses in northwest, police said.The landslide caused by heavy monsoon rain destroyed 11 houses on a mountain in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shangla district."Twenty-nine people have died. I think the death toll will rise. There are women and children among the dead," senior police officer Qazai Jamil told AFP by telephone.Fazlullah Khan, a local member parliament, said 34 people were killed."A rescue operation is under way. Bad weather is a big hurdle," he told AFP.Another 22 people were killed and more than 30 injured Thursday as dozens of houses collapsed due to heavy rains in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said the regional prime minister Sardar Atique Ahmed.The army has been summoned to tackle the problems caused by the flood waters, with the Swat and Malakand districts the hardest hit.The military said it sent boats to rescue stranded people and army engineers were attempting to open roads and divert the waters from key routes.

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