Downpours wreak havoc in Asia

Pakistani villagers escaping rising floodwaters in Punjab province on Thursday. Elsewhere in the country, livestock and people have been swept away.
Pakistani villagers escaping rising floodwaters in Punjab province on Thursday. Elsewhere in the country, livestock and people have been swept away.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Dozens dead and over a million affected as houses collapse and floods hit villages

ISLAMABAD • Torrential rains have caused havoc in several Asian countries the past week. At least 36 people were killed in Pakistan and hundreds of thousands of others affected, according to aid agencies, with further downpours expected in the coming days.

More than a million people were affected by heavy rains in several Chinese provinces, causing houses to collapse, decimating crops and blocking highways.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said it was ready to assist Myanmar with floods caused by seasonal rains in the country's Sagaing region.

In Pakistan, severe weather has caused havoc in the north and south of the country, sweeping away dozens of roads and bridges in Chitral district in the northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, while floods have inundated villages in south Punjab, government authorities said yesterday.

Livestock and people have also been swept away in the south-western Baluchistan province and in the north-eastern Kashmir region.

Swollen rivers and water channels have damaged hundreds of villages and more than 250,000 people have been affected, disaster management officials said.

The heavy rain started falling on July 15. Officials said the severe weather is likely to persist in the northern region over the next four days, and has the potential to produce more flooding.

In central China, continuous storms have affected 360,700 people in Hubei province since Wednesday, the provincial civil affairs department said. More than 360,000 residents were also affected in Hunan province.

Four people died and another five are missing after downpours hit Liancheng county in eastern Fujian province, inundating streets and cutting off power supply. About 323,000 people were affected, with 136,200 of them evacuated by Thursday.

Torrential rain also hit the southern province of Guangdong, affecting 233,200 people and forcing 6,000 people to evacuate.

Central Myanmar's Sagaing region has also seen flooding caused by seasonal rains since last week and the United Nations said that it is ready to assist those affected.

Some 70,000 people have been adversely affected by the floods in 11 townships, with nine people having died and more than 12,000 houses having been damaged, said Ms Eri Kaneko, the UN associate spokesman, citing information given by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

She said on Friday: "The United Nations is part of a joint team currently visiting the worst affected areas to assess the situation and humanitarian needs."

The flood has caused damage to bridges and roads in three townships in Sagaing while rail transportation between the cities of Mandalay and Myitkyina in the north has been suspended.

The regions of Ayeyarwady, Bago and Yangon have also seen heavy rainfall, reports said. Residents have been evacuated and relief camps set up for the flood-hit victims.

XINHUA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2015, with the headline 'Downpours wreak havoc in Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe