Cyclone kills 10 in Pakistan

1305.jpgAt least 10 people have died and thousands have fled their homes as a powerful tropical cyclone brought torrential rains and high winds to Pakistan’s Arabian sea coast. Cyclone Yemyin hit southwestern Baluchistan province three days after another storm killed more than 200 people in the southern port of Karachi.

 

At least four children and six adults drowned in several coastal districts inundated by floodwaters from burst river banks which washed away some bridges and part of the main coastal highway. Water was released from two dangerously full dams.

 

The storm was “likely to cause widespread destruction and coastal flooding along Baluchistan coast due to extremely heavy rainfall, gale [force] winds and associated storm surge”, Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhary, director-general of the Pakistan meteorological department, said on Tuesday.

 

He said the storm’s intensity was decelerating and would subside by evening. Most of the 120,000 residents of the southwestern port city of Gwadar were moved to higher ground, Abdul Ghaffar Hoth, the city’s mayor, said.

 

People from other smaller towns were also moved inland to escape the cyclone. “We have imposed an emergency in the district and asked the army and other forces to be on alert,” he said.

Residents said the latest cyclone had severed road and telephone links to the affected coastal region, hampering relief efforts. At least three small boats were reported to have sunk and 18 fishing boats were missing. A Pakistan navy official said 75 people stranded on four floundering vessels were rescued using helicopters.
Chaudhary said that the “worst appears to be over” for southern Sindh province, which was battered by the storm at the weekend, but that widespread rains would continue until late on Tuesday.

In Karachi, the clean-up was under way after the weekend storm, but many areas remained without electricity or drinking water, four people including an eight-year-old boy were electrocuted by fallen power lines and several riots broke out over the tense situation.

 

The water resources of the city are badly contaminated, electric poles are down, and telecommunications are down. The biggest concern now is that epidemics may follow if the clean-up is not done properly.”

 

Rains and floods also killed 38 people in neighbouring India over the weekend, raising the toll to 129 since the monsoon season set in four weeks ago, according to official reports.

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