Dozen killed by lightning, heavy rain in Pakistan

April 15, 2024 by No Comments

Lightning and heavy rains over the past three days have killed at least 36 people, mostly farmers, in officials said Monday, as authorities in the country’s southwest declared a state of emergency. Most of the deaths occurred when lightning struck farmers harvesting wheat and rains caused houses to collapse in eastern Punjab province, said Arfan Kathia, a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority. He said more rains were expected this week. Rain also lashed the capital, Islamabad, and killed seven people in southwestern Baluchistan province over the weekend, and eight others died in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan. Rainwaters flooded streets in the northwestern city of Peshawar and in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, where authorities declared a state of emergency. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in televised remarks that he had ordered authorities to provide relief aid in regions hit by rains. Pakistan’s water reservoirs would improve because of the rains, he said, while expressing concern over the deaths and damage. Meanwhile, heavy flooding from seasonal rains in Afghanistan killed 33 people and injured 27 others in three days, according to Abdullah Janan Saiq, the Taliban’s spokesman for the State Ministry for Natural Disaster Management. More than 600 houses were either damaged or destroyed while around 200 livestock died. also damaged large areas of agricultural land and more than 53 miles of roads, he said. He said authorities had provided aid to nearly 23,000 families, and that flash floods were reported in 20 out of the country’s 34 provinces. Rafay Alam, a Pakistani environmental expert, said that such heavy April rainfall is unusual. “Two years ago, Pakistan witnessed a heat wave in March and April and now we are witnessing rains and it is all of because of climate change, which had caused heavy flooding in 2022,” he said. In 2022, downpours had swelled rivers and at one point inundated one-third of Pakistan, killing 1,739 people. The floods also caused $30 billion in damage.