Pakistani flood death toll 1,300, reports
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The death toll from floods in Pakistan has now reached 1,300, according to local media. There are reports of cholera and other water-borne diseases, officials say.
The soaring death toll, reported by Geo TV, comes as the rains slack off but more bodies are still being found. In Peshawar, the main city in the north-west, 690 are officially declared dead, reports correspondent Behroz Khan, while local disaster management officials saying that at least 500 more have died in the surrounding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
“If you see from a helicopter, entire Peshawar really is one big pond of water and according to the officials more than 70 per cent of Peshawar is under water now," Khan says.
Hundreds of survivors are streaming into the city. Many of them have seen their homes, businesses or farmland destroyed.
Vital rice and maize crops have been destroyed and more than 3,700 homes have been destroyed, according to local officials.
“I visited one of the affected areas in Charsadda and I was told by officials and the locals that about 700,000 people are in dire need of food, shelter and all the basic needs of life," reports Khan. "So this is just about one district and we have 25 districts.”
Contact between many affected areas has been made impossible.
“The problem is that there is no access from one district to another. All the bridges have been washed away, the water is still surging," says Khan.
“The provincial government has no resources of its own so now the provincial government in particular and the federal government in general are looking to the rest of the world for help.”
The provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has waived all provincial taxes, while the country’s breadbasket, Punjab, has lifted agricultural tax and Baluchistan written off loans to farmers, according to The News. The provinces of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistani-run Kashmir are also badly hit.
"Our rescue teams are also trying to extricate some 1,500 tourists who are stranded in the Kalam and Behrain towns of Swat district," said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain.
"We are also getting confirmation of reports about an outbreak of cholera in some areas of Swat."
The military, who pursued in an anti-Taliban offensive in Swat last year, has sent boats and helicopters and is struggling to reopen flood-hit roads. School buildings are being used as emergency shelters.
Pakistan's weather bureau says an "unprecedented" 312 millimetres of rain had fallen in 36 hours in the north-west but predicts only scattered showers during coming days.
In neighbouring Afghanistan, flash floods have killed at least 65 people and affected more than 1,000 families, officials there say.
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