Death toll from Pakistan cyclone rises to 62
The death toll from a tropical cyclone that displaced more than 15,000 people in Pakistan's southern coastal belt has climbed to 62.world Updated: Jun 27, 2007 20:59 IST
The death toll from a tropical cyclone that displaced more than 15,000 people in Pakistan's southern coastal belt has climbed to 62, while 32 more were feared dead as several boats sank in the Arabian Sea, officials and media reports said on Wednesday.
Cyclone Yemyin moved in from the North Arabian Sea with winds up to 130km an hour that wreaked havoc along the coast of southern Balochistan on Tuesday.
"Around 15,000 to 20,000 people are left homeless in the province as heavy floods inundated dozens of villages," spokesman for Balochistan government Razaq Bugti said.
Ten people, including four children, lost their lives on Tuesday in the devastation caused by heavy rains and floods in various districts, he said.
"Hundreds of people have taken refuge on trees and government buildings. Massive killings are feared here," Aaj news channel reported.
Aaj news channel reported five more deaths on Wednesday in Khuzdar, Gandhawa and Karkh districts, where communication links are severely disrupted.
At least two Hindu pilgrims drowned after becoming trapped in a rainwater drain in Pasni district. Around two dozen people, including 15 Hindu pilgrims, are still missing there, the daily News said.
Four more died in the district on Wednesday when rains flooded dozens of villages and inundated around 500 houses, provincial minister Malik Shaheryar said.
Heavy floods also swept away dozens of bridges and the coastal highway linking Balochistan's deep-sea water port of Gwadar with the port city of Karachi in Sindh province, leaving hundreds of people stranded.
More than 10,000 people were evacuated to high ground in eight districts of Balochistan. Around 12,000 people, forced to flee to a hillock just outside Gwadar city, started to return as the meteorological authorities said the "worst was over".
"The cyclone has now entered Iran but some Pakistani coastal areas will continue to experience rainfall," said Qamar-uz-Zaman, Meteorological Services director general.
The roads were being cleared and relief work was underway in the coastal city of Pasni where hundreds of residents spent the second night in the open on nearby sandy hills.
Yemyin narrowly missed Karachi and other coastal areas in Sindh province but heavy rains claimed 40 lives in the province.
At least 18 people were killed in rain-related incidents as intermittent downpours continued on Tuesday in Karachi for the third consecutive day, taking the death toll in the city due to the recent tropical storms to around 250, the News said.
Three people were drowned in Katty Bandar coastal area of Sindh province after seawater flooded the shore.
Two fishing boats sank in Gharo Shah and Shah Bandar shores, killing 14 fishermen while 25 were rescued.
Thirty-one other fishing trawlers with 400 people on board were missing, a spokesman for the Fisherman Cooperative Society said on Wednesday.
Sources at Karchi port told the Dawn newspaper that 32 fishermen on two missing boats - Al Taif and Al Majid - were feared dead.
Pakistan's navy is carrying out a massive rescue and recovery operation in the high seas and so far 100 people on several stranded fishing trawlers and ships have been rescued, according to navy spokesman commander Salman Ali.
Meanwhile, the poultry farmers association claimed that the tropical storm also killed more than one million chickens in various districts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces.