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Army rescues 10,000 cyclone victims

Pakistan's military has moved more than 10,000 victims of a cyclone, which hit the southern Balochistan province, to safer places.

world Updated: Jun 30, 2007 14:41 IST
DPA

Pakistan's military has moved more than 10,000 victims of a cyclone which hit the coastal towns of southern Balochistan province on Thursday to safer places, an official said on Saturday.

"More than 800,000 people were affected and around 80,000 displaced by the cyclone Yemyin and subsequent heavy floods in the province," military spokesman Major General Arshad Waheed told reporters in Rawalpindi.

Severe weather hampered the airborne relief efforts over in the last four days, he said, adding that the military still managed to move 5,000 people to safer places from the coastal town of Gwadar alone.

But the government has come under strong criticism for its slow response to the disaster, with local residents saying the food that has been supplied to affected areas so far was too little for tens of thousands of victims.

Hundreds of hungry people on Friday rioted in the flooded city of Turbat and ransacked the offices of the local administration. Two were injured as police opened fire to disperse the crowd.

"Around 50,000 tonnes (of food) have been transported to the affected areas," Waheed said, adding that several helicopters and C-130 planes would continue their relief flights Saturday.

Twelve hundred soldiers are being sent for rescue and relief operations in Turbat and Pasni districts, which had more than half of their areas inundated by flood water.

Local media says the death toll from the Yemyin cyclone has climbed to 113, though the provincial administration has put the number at 27.

The military spokesman did not provide any information on the numbers killed or injured.