Heavy rains in Pakistan leave dozens dead, injured

Authorities say heavy rains swept through Pakistan's northwest, causing several houses to collapse and leaving at least 25 people dead and 145 wounded.

Rains and hail hit the Bannu, Lakki Marwat, and Karak districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Saturday, senior rescue officer Khateer Ahmed said.

Another 145 people were injured as uprooted trees knocked down electrical transmission towers.

Officials were working to provide emergency relief to the wounded, Ahmed said. Last month, about a dozen people, including women and children, were killed by an avalanche during unusual snowfall in the summer.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed grief on Saturday about the loss of life loss from the storm and directed authorities to pick up the pace of relief operations.

Meanwhile, Sharif ordered officials to put emergency measures in place, as Cyclone Biparjoy approached from the Arabia Sea.

The “severe and intense” cyclone with wind speeds of 150km per hour (93 miles per hour) was on a course towards the country’s south, Pakistan’s disaster management agency announced.

Last year, Pakistan witnessed the worst floods in its history due to heavy rains. They killed at least 1,739 people, including 647 children, and affected 33 million people.

At their peak, the floods – caused by a “monsoon on steroids”, as described by UN chief Antonio Guterres – submerged more than one-third of the country.

The disaster then caused damage to most of the water systems in affected areas and forced more than 5.4 million people, including 2.5 million children to “solely rely on contaminated water from ponds and wells”.

To mitigate the effects of natural disasters, the government in its national budget draft presented Friday allocated $1.3bn for climate resilience.

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