Heavy monsoon rains and flash floods have killed 110 people in Pakistan and 108 people in India, officials said, as forecasters warned of more rain in the coming days and troops raced to evacuate people from deluged areas.
The annual monsoon season has struck hard across the region, leaving people to wade through rushing water in towns and villages across Pakistan and in Indian-controlled areas of Kashmir, where authorities say they are seeing some of the worst flooding in decades.
Ahmad Kamal, a spokesman for Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority, said at least 61 people had died in the eastern Punjab province since Thursday. He said another 38 people died in the Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir and 11 died in northern Gilgit Baltistan province.
Mr Kamal said officials believe all those were killed when the roofs of their homes collapsed. He said the deluge has injured 148 people across the country.
“We are dispatching tents and other relief items for those who have been affected because of rains and floods,” he said. He said the army helicopters and boats were evacuating people from affected areas.
In India, authorities put the death toll at 108 people, including some 30 people killed when a bus filled with those attending wedding washed away in a flooded stream. Four passengers managed to swim away, but others remain unaccounted for, officials said.
At least 300 federal rescue workers have joined thousands of state police and soldiers to rescue tens of thousands of people stranded across the region. Dozens of bridges have been damaged or washed away.
Authorities fear the death toll may rise in the region as more flooding and rain is forecast for the coming days.
In a statement, Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif said the deaths and destruction caused by the rains and floods were a great loss, noting that some 650 homes have been destroyed already.
“The government will leave no stone unturned to help the people in distress,” Mr Sharif said.
Pakistan’s meteorological service said “widespread rain-thundershowers” were expected on Saturday in various parts of the country.
Pakistan and India suffer widespread flooding during the annual monsoon season. In 2010, flash floods killed 1,700 people in Pakistan.