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Pakistan hit by heavy winter rains, causing 37 deaths and building collapses.

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At least 37 individuals have tragically lost their lives in rain-related incidents that have swept across Pakistan over the past 48 hours, as reported by authorities on Sunday. The heavy rains have resulted in the collapse of homes and triggered landslides, particularly in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). In KPK alone, at least 27 individuals, predominantly children, have reportedly perished in rain-related incidents since Thursday night, according to the provincial disaster management authority. Moreover, a total of 37 people have sustained injuries in the torrential rains that have affected ten districts within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including Bajaur, Swat, Lower Dir, Malakand, Khyber, Peshawar, North and South Waziristan, and Lakki Marwat.

In response to the calamity, Chief Minister of KPK, Ali Amin Gandapur, has assured that those affected by the rains will receive due compensation for their losses, emphasizing that they will not be left to face the challenges alone. Meanwhile, in southwestern Balochistan province, at least five fatalities have been reported due to floods inundating the coastal town of Gwadar. The situation in Gwadar became dire as heavy rainfall over the past two days disrupted normal life, leaving hundreds homeless and causing substantial damage to settlements and commercial establishments.

The devastation caused by the heavy rains extends to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where the National Disaster Management Authority confirmed five fatalities. Emergency relief efforts have been initiated, with heavy machinery dispatched to clear debris obstructing highways. However, challenges persist, particularly in the northern Gilgit Baltistan region, where the Karakoram Highway remains blocked in some areas due to landslides triggered by rain and snow. Faizullah Faraq, spokesperson for the region, noted that the snowfall this year has been unusually heavy for this time of year, further complicating relief efforts.

Authorities have issued advisories cautioning against travel to the scenic north due to adverse weather conditions. This warning comes in the wake of several visitors being stranded in the region last week due to heavy rains. The delayed onset of winter rains in Pakistan, which commenced in February instead of November, has exacerbated the impact of the recent downpours. Both monsoons and winter rains pose recurring challenges for Pakistan, causing damage and loss of life on an annual basis.

Reflecting on the devastating impact of natural disasters in the region, the year 2022 stands as a stark reminder of the destructive potential of such events. Unprecedented rainfall and flooding ravaged numerous parts of Pakistan, claiming the lives of over 1,800 individuals, affecting millions, and displacing millions more. The aftermath of the disaster left a trail of destruction and incurred billions of dollars in damage, underscoring the urgent need for effective disaster preparedness and mitigation measures to safeguard lives and livelihoods in vulnerable communities.

March 4, 2024 1:15 p.m. 11485

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