Monsoon rains cause at least 77 deaths in Pakistan in three weeks


Homes, roads, bridges and power stations also badly hit with Balochistan province faring worst

At least 77 people have died in rain-related incidents across Pakistan in the past three weeks, the country’s minister for climate change said on Wednesday.

The monsoon rains have also damaged homes, roads, bridges and power stations, Sherry Rehman told a news conference in the capital, Islamabad, as storms continued to lash the country.

Rehman said 39 of the 77 people died in Balochistan. TV footage showed vehicles being swept away by deluges in Balochistan.

Heavy rain also lashed Islamabad and the eastern Punjab province. Pakistan’s president, Arif Alvi, expressed his grief at the loss of life.

Streets and homes were flooded in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, the provincial disaster management agency said.

Rehman said the recent rains in Pakistan were 87% heavier than the average downpour. She linked the new pattern to the changes in climate, saying Pakistan should be ready to face more flooding because the country’s glaciers were melting at a faster pace. That was causing flash floods that had damaged infrastructure.

Naseer Nasar, a spokesperson at the Balochistan disaster management agency, said at least 50 people had been injured in rain-related incidents in the province since June. He said rescuers were transporting people to safer places away from floods and rain-hit areas in Balochistan.

Every year many cities in Pakistan struggle with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism about poor government planning. The season runs from July to September and experts say rains are essential for irrigating crops and replenishing dams and other water reservoirs in Pakistan.

Some of the areas in southern Pakistan have faced drought since earlier this year.