QUETTA: Rescue teams recovered 13 more bodies in Lasbela, Killa Saifullah and Quetta districts as monsoon downpours continued to lash the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan in the last 24 hours, officials said, with the provincial death toll rising to 124.
Balochistan has been worst hit by floods in the country, with more than 16,000 houses completely or partially destroyed and flood waters washing away around 640 kilometers of roads since the first spell of monsoon showers in mid-June, according to the provincial disaster management authority.
On Friday, six bodies were found in Lasbela district, four in Killa Saifullah and three in Quetta, while many people were still trapped in marooned areas of these districts.
“Rescue teams with the assistance of Pakistan Army are fully engaged in relief and rescue operations in the flood-hit Lasbela district,” Kalat Division Commissioner Dawood Khilji told Arab News.
"Four helicopters have been providing relief items to people stranded in flood water and evacuating them to safe places."
The highway connecting Balochistan with Pakistan's financial hub of Karachi has been closed for the last 70 hours after flood waters washed away two main bridges in Hub and Uthal areas.
"We had partially restored the traffic at N25 Highway but torrential rains have badly hit a bridge in Khuzdar area that has suspended the traffic again, but our teams along with the National Highways Authority have been working to restore the bridge," Khilji said.
Quetta Deputy Commissioner Shehak Baloch said the third spell of monsoon rains destroyed several mud houses on the outskirts of Quetta, but the district administration was actively carrying out rescue and relief operations.
"The bodies of a three-day-old baby and a woman have been recovered in Kan Mehtarzai area, while one body has been found in Muslim Bagh Town and another in Killah Saifullah," Killa Saifullah Deputy Commissioner Hafiz Qasim told Arab News.
He said flash floods caused major damage in Kan Mehtarzai area, where dozens of mud houses had collapsed.
On Thursday, Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili said the province had so far received 500 percent additional rains this monsoon season.
“The downpours and flooding have damaged 200,000 acres of agricultural land, while 10,000 houses have been completely damaged in the last one-and-a-half month,” he told reporters in Quetta.
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday ordered a committee to assess damages as the countrywide death toll from more than six weeks of torrential rains and flash floods rose to 357.
"The committee will visit all affected areas within the next four days and on August 4, short-term, mid-term and long-term comprehensive plans will be formed in the light of the committee’s recommendations," PM Sharif’s office said in a statement, adding the federal government would fully support provincial governments in dealing with the effects of the natural disaster.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army said its troops had been assisting the civil administration in relief and rescue operations and they had rescued 65 people in Lakhra and Shoran areas of Lasbela district.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudus Bizenjo on Thursday visited different flood-hit areas and assured affected people the government would utilize all available resources to protect their lives and properties.
“District administrations have been actively taking part in rescue and relief operations along with Pakistan Army, while Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has pledged full support for the provincial government in assisting the flood-affected people,” he told reporters in Hub.