More than 1,000 dead in Pakistan floods

The number of people known
to have been killed by floods in northwest Pakistan has passed 1,000, officials
say.

About 30,000 troops have
joined the relief effort, with large parts of the northwest submerged by the
worst monsoon rains in memory.

There are also fears that
with more rain forecast for the next 24 hours, some areas faced further
threats.

The main north-south
motorway was partially reopened, raising the prospect of aid reaching those
trapped.

The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool, in
the capital Islamabad, says officials fear that once access to affected areas
improves, the full picture will show that the situation is much worse than
known so far.

A spokesman for the province
of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa’s disaster management authority said an aerial survey
was being conducted to determine the full extent of the flooding.

“It has shown that whole
villages have been washed away, animals have drowned and grain storages have
been washed away,” said the spokesman, Latifur Rehman.

“It has shown that whole
villages have been washed away, animals have drowned and grain storages have
been washed away,” said Mr. Rehman.

Bridges down

The Pakistani government
said 19,000 people in the worst-hit areas had been rescued by soldiers by
Saturday night, but that thousands more remained stranded.

More than half of the dead
were counted in the districts of Swat and Shangla, according to Mujahid Khan of
the private Edhi Foundation.

There have been reports that
the flood water is receding in some areas but officials fear that relief operations
could be hampered by more rain, with a new monsoon system forecast to arrive in
the next 24 hours.

Officials are concerned that
more heavy rains could push the flooding south into Sindh province.

Military and rescue workers
have been using helicopters to deliver essential supplies to areas that have
had transport and communication links cut off.

“Virtually no bridge has
been left in Swat. All major and minor bridges have gone, destroyed
completely,” said army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas.

The army has deployed 43
helicopters and over 100 boats to try to reach people still trapped by the
floods, said Mr Rehman.

The Chairman of Pakistan’s
National Disaster Management Authority, General Nadim Ahmed, said it would be
necessary to rely on helicopters to shift people and drop aid supplies for some
time.

He said the UN was
responding to a request for help with food, shelter, water and sanitation and
medicines.

The US has also provided
about 50,000 meals, four rescue boats and two water-filtration units, said US
and Pakistani officials.

The American embassy in
Islamabad said it would be providing 12 temporary bridges to replace some of
those knocked out by the flooding.

As well as the more 1,000
deaths in Pakistan, at least 60 people have died across the border in
Afghanistan, where floods have affected four provinces.

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