LAHORE: More than 35 people have been killed as a result of heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan, officials said yesterday, as authorities warned more intense rainfall and flash floods could be imminent.
Most of the deaths were caused by roof collapses in buildings in Punjab, Pakistan’s richest and most populous province, with 13 people killed in Lahore.
Pakistan has suffered deadly monsoon floods for at least the last four years -- in 2013, 178 people were killed and around 1.5 million affected by flooding around the country.
The government has been criticised for not doing more to mitigate against the dangers posed by seasonal rains washing away homes and farmland.
“At least 25 people have been killed in different incidents of roof collapses in Punjab province during the last 24 hours,” Jam Sajjad, a spokesman for rescue services said.
He added that the dead included women and children, and 28 people had been injured.
Rizwan Naseer, the director general of rescue services in Punjab confirmed the toll and said the injured were being moved to hospitals.
“We have been removing the debris to search for survivors and the injured,” Naseer said,
“The toll was likely to rise as more information came in from around the province.”
In Pakistani-administered Kashmir, 10 people were killed and four others injured, disaster management agency chairman Akram Sohail said.
He said there had been some flash flooding in the Himalayan territory and warned that the rivers Jhelum and Neelum were close to overflowing in some places.
Also in Kashmir, three soldiers died in a mudslide near the de facto border with India, which like Pakistan claims the territory as its own.
Pakistan’s meteorological office warned that more heavy rain and thunderstorms were expected in Punjab and the north of the country in the coming 72 hours and could cause flooding in major rivers.
The floods of the year 2010 were the worst in Pakistan’s history, with almost 1,800 people killed and 21 million affected in what became a major humanitarian crisis.