Flash floods kill 22 in Pakistan
The Associated Press, Aug. 13, 2007
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A monsoon storm unleashed landslides and collapsed houses in a village in Pakistan's mountainous northwest Monday, killing 22 people.
In neighboring India, the government said it would resume air drops to flood victims following violent riots over a lack of assistance.
Devastating monsoon floods have laid waste to much of South Asia in recent weeks, killing more than 2,000 people and displacing millions.
Aid workers reaching remote areas in India reported finding 34 more bodies between Sunday and Monday. Meanwhile, the United Nations warned that Bangladesh could face acute food shortages because floods have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of crops.
Heavy monsoon rains lashed many parts of Pakistan late Sunday and early Monday. A wild storm left 22 people dead in the remote village of Rano Mera, many of them trapped in collapsed houses, said Saeed Khan Aurakzai, the government's top administration official in the region.
Relief and rescue teams rushed to the village in rugged Kohistan district. Flooding and falling tree branches cut off roads briefly on Sunday night in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
Parts of Pakistan's largest city, the port of Karachi, remained inundated four days after a violent storm left at least 35 dead, most of them electrocuted or crushed in their homes.
In the northern Indian state of Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar ordered government relief agencies to continue air drops of assistance to the worst-hit areas.
The decision was prompted by violent riots in the town of Sonebarsa, where police killed one person and wounded four Sunday after hundreds of people ransacked a local relief office to protest the lack of aid.
The government had earlier said it would end the air drops because land routes had been re-established to most of the flood-hit areas. Meanwhile, the U.N. World Food Program chief in Bangladesh, Douglas Broderick, said he feared the country could face a food crisis.
"We are quite concerned over the significant damage to crops in the flood-affected areas," he told reporters late Sunday. Bangladesh's government has said monsoon floods have destroyed crops on more than 600,000 acres of land.
Broderick said the WFP initially planned to distribute 1,500-2,000 tons of rice among the victims, and that as "needs increase, we would also increase the distribution."
While most of the flood waters have subsided, thousands of people were still being treated across India and Bangladesh for diseases that affect people who drink from stagnant pools left behind by floods or contaminated wells.
More than 43,000 people were being treated for diarrhea in Bangladesh, said government health adviser Matiur Rahman.