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Death toll rises to 63 from four days of rains in Pakistan

PESHAWAR (AP) – Lightning and heavy rains led to 14 deaths in Pakistan, officials said Wednesday, bringing the death toll from four days of extreme weather to at least 63.

Most of the deaths were reported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Pakistan’s northwest. Collapsing buildings have killed 32 people, including 15 children and five women, said a spokesman for the Disaster Management Authority Khursheed Anwar. Dozens more were also injured in the northwest, where 1,370 houses were damaged, Anwar said.

The eastern province of Punjab has reported 21 lightning and collapse-related deaths, while Baluchistan, in the country’s southwest, reported 10 dead as authorities declared a state of emergency following flash floods. On Wednesday, Baluchistan was bracing for more rains amid ongoing rescue and relief operations.

Heavy rains also came down on the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. Pakistan is seeing heavier rain in April due to climate change, said a senior official at the Pakistan Meteorological Department Zaheer Ahmed Babar.

“So far there has been 256 per cent above normal rainfall in Baluchistan,” Babar told The Associated Press.

“Overall, there has been 61 per cent above normal rainfall this month across Pakistan, and it shows climate change has already happened in our country.”

People wade through a flooded bridge on a stream on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan. PHOTO: AP