At least 50 people, including eight children, have been killed by floods and landslides triggered by monsoon rains that have lashed Pakistan since last month, officials have said.
The summer monsoon between June and September brings 70-80% of south Asia’s annual rainfall every year. It is vital for the livelihoods of millions of farmers and food security in a region of about 2 billion people – but it also triggers landslides and floods.
“Fifty deaths have been reported in different rain-related incidents all over Pakistan since the start of the monsoon on 25 June,” a national disaster management official said, adding that 87 people were injured during this period.
Most of the deaths were in eastern Punjab province and were mainly caused by electrocution and building collapses, official data showed.
In north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the bodies of eight children were recovered from a landslide in the Shangla district on Thursday, according to the emergency service Rescue 1122’s spokesperson, Bilal Ahmad Faizi. He said rescuers were still searching for other children trapped in the debris.
Officials in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, said it received record-breaking rainfall on Wednesday, turning roads into rivers and leaving almost 35% of residents without electricity and water.
The Meteorological Department has predicted more heavy rainfall nationwide in the days ahead and warned of potential flooding in the catchment areas of Punjab’s biggest rivers.
The province’s disaster management authority said on Friday it was working to relocate people living along the waterways.
Scientists have said the climate crisis is making seasonal rains heavier and more unpredictable.
Last summer, unprecedented monsoon rains hit a third of Pakistan, damaging 2m homes and killing more than 1,700 people.
Storms killed at least 27 people, including eight children, in the north-west of the country early last month.
Pakistan, which has the world’s fifth largest population, is responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to officials. However, it is one of the most vulnerable countries to the extreme weather caused by global heating.
Source: The Guardian