A severe storm in northwest Pakistan, dubbed a “mini-cyclone,” has killed 44 people and injured more than 200, officials said Monday, raising their previous death toll.
Intense rain and strong winds buffeted Peshawar and adjacent districts late Sunday, felling trees, causing dozens of roofs and walls to collapse and blocking many roads. The injured include nearly 100 children, according to officials, while farmers have seen their produce badly affected.
“At least 44 people have been killed and 202 wounded. The storm followed by heavy rain and hailstorm has severely damaged wheat crops and orchards,” said Provincial Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani. He said that authorities were estimating the losses and expressed fear that hundreds of cattle have been killed.
Electricity was still suspended in Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, and in parts of two nearby districts, Nowshera and Charsadda.
Ghani said at least 29 people were killed in Peshawar, 10 in Charsadda and five in Nowshera.
Aamir Afaq, a senior official of the provincial disaster management authority, confirmed the death toll and said that efforts were underway “to provide food, shelters and emergency medical services to the affected.”
An AFP reporter in Peshawar said rescue workers were removing fallen trees to open roads while engineers from mobile phone companies were repairing the towers.
On Sunday evening, floodwaters from the torrential rain reached a depth of three feet in some parts of the city, which is home to more than three million people. Initial estimates had put the death toll at 26 with 180 injured.
The military has been called in to boost rescue efforts, using ground-penetrating radars, concrete cutters and sniffer dogs, according to a tweet by the Army spokesman.