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Pakistan flooding claims 430 lives

07-31-2010 09:46 BJT

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At least 430 lives have been lost due to heavy flooding in Pakistan. Officials estimate that about 400-thousand people remain stranded in the inundated area.

The reddish flood water has made parts of northwest Pakistan resemble a giant newborn lake.

Three days of heavy monsoonal rains caused scores of rivers to burst their banks, tearing down 60 bridges, and roaring across numerous roads and buildings.

Hundreds of villages and towns, along with massive swaths of agricultural fields, sank under several feet of water.

Pakistan's Information Ministry estimates that 400,000 people are still stranded.

Boats and helicopters are struggling to reach hundreds of thousands of villagers cut off by floods.

Nadeem Ahmed, Chairman of Pakistani Disaster Management Authority, said, "As of now, 21 helicopters are taking part in the first step of our rescue and relief operation. Moreover, 150 boats are operating in different areas. Though the flood waters have receded in the other areas, Nowshera and Charsadda are still submerged in water."

The government says this is the deadliest natural disaster to hit the area since 1929. Prime Minister Syed Khyber Raza Gilani has inspected the damage from the air.

Meanwhile, the highway connecting Peshawar -- the largest city in the northwest -- to the country's capital, Islamabad, remained impassable for a second consecutive day.

According to Pakistan's meteorological department, more rain is expected in the next few days.

The United Nations says it, and other international bodies, are looking at ways to help the region.


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