Rescuers race to save flood victims

KARACHI: Pakistani authorities raced against time yesterday to rescue tens of thousands of stranded people after the worst floods in a decade hit the south of the country, killing at least 100 people. 

As the rain stopped, army, navy, police and civil aid workers fanned out across villages in the southern province of Sindh trying to reach people marooned without food and shelter for up to six days. 

A government official co-ordinating relief activities in the city of Hyderabad said more than 100 people were now known to have died and more than 650,000 had been affected since monsoons hit at the end of last week. 

Relief camps set up in schools, town halls and other government buildings were also filling rapidly, with more than 65,000 people being looked after in camps across the province. 

Rescue officials said many people remained stranded even though floodwaters were receding. 

“The biggest problem is that road links have disappeared under water so how do we reach them?” said a police officer from Badin, one of the worst-affected areas, some 190km east of Karachi. 

“And we do not have as many boats as are needed, so it is taking time to evacuate people,” he said. 

Residents of Badin said they were relieved the rain had stopped, but still worried about the death and destruction left by the floodwaters. 

Army helicopters hovered over villages to drop food packages and help people stranded on rooftops, witnesses said. 

Heavy monsoon rains have killed hundreds of people across South Asia this year. 

More than 520 people have died in Bangladesh – including 400 in a ferry disaster. Around 300 fishermen are still missing and feared drowned. 

At least 119 people have died due to floods and landslides in eastern India since the monsoons arrived in the region in early June.  

Seventy-five people have been killed in Nepal due to flooding, landslides or after being struck by lightning since mid-June this year. – Reuters  

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