HomeLatest NewsFloods in Pakistan: Swollen rivers collapse bridges, forcing thousands to flee their...

Floods in Pakistan: Swollen rivers collapse bridges, forcing thousands to flee their homes

Hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes in northern Pakistan on Saturday after a fast-rising river destroyed a major bridge, as deadly floods wreaked havoc across the country.

Strong flash floods in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caused the Kabul River to swell, sweeping away a major bridge overnight, cutting off some districts from road access.

Downstream, fears of flooding around the river banks have forced about 180,000 people in Charsadda district to flee their homes, with some spending the night on the highway with their livestock, according to disaster officials.

Historic monsoon rains and floods in Pakistan have affected more than 30 million people in the past few weeks, the country’s climate change minister said, calling the situation a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions”.

The army has joined the country’s national and provincial authorities in responding to the floods, and on Saturday Pakistan’s army chief visited the southern province of Balochistan, which has been hit hard by the rains.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said, “The people of Pakistan are our priority and we will spare no effort to help them in this difficult time.”

Pakistani leaders have appealed to the international community for help and plan to launch an international appeal fund. Turkey has sent a team to help with rescue operations, the Foreign Ministry said.

After visiting the flood-hit areas, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a tweet, “The extent of the disaster is more than expected.”

In neighboring Afghanistan, the Taliban administration has also appealed for aid after floods hit central and eastern provinces.

The death toll from floods in Afghanistan this month has risen to 192, disaster officials said. Thousands of livestock have died and 1.7 million fruit trees have been destroyed, raising concerns about how families will feed themselves during the colder months as the country grapples with an economic crisis.

“We request humanitarian agencies, the international community and other related organizations and foundations to help us,” Sharafuddin Muslim, deputy director of Afghanistan’s disaster ministry, told a news conference.

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