At least 18 killed in torrential downpour as provincial government protests in federal capital.
Heavy storms and rains on Friday killed at least 16 people, including nine children, and injured over 80 others in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, officials said. Another two people died of injuries early on Saturday morning, raising the death toll to 18.
The torrential monsoon rains damaged properties in the provincial capital Peshawar and its surrounding areas causing roofs and walls of houses to cave in and, in some cases, killing those inside.
“The roofs of many houses collapsed after heavy storms and rains hit the City and suburbs. Up to 16 people including nine children, three women and four men have been killed in these accidents,” said Zahir-ul-Islam, a senior administration official in Peshawar, said on Friday. “At least 82 people including 25 children have been injured also. Most of them have head injuries,” he said. According to the official, strong winds also contributed to the casualty count. He added that the homes that had collapsed had mostly been older constructions with poor maintenance.
A senior police official in Peshawar, Ijaz Khan also confirmed the death toll and numbers wounded.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is ruled by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which is currently protesting against the sitting prime minister over alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections. The chief minister of the province, Pervez Khattak, had left for Islamabad when the storm hit, prompting Gov. Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi to step in and assume a leadership role.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced compensation of Rs. 300,000 for the families of the deceased, and Rs. 100,000 for the injured. Senior minister Inayatullah Khan, of the Jamaat-e-Islami party that has a coalition government with the PTI in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, also visited the victims at the hospital and directed officials to provide free treatment.
Floods and torrential rains often hit Pakistan during the monsoon, but state agencies have poor disaster management systems to facilitate swift rescue operations.