Heavy rains in northwest Pakistan leave 20 dead, 80 injured

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Heavy rains swept through Pakistan’s northwest on Saturday, causing several houses to collapse and leaving at least 20 people dead and 80 injured, authorities said.

Rains and hail hit the Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Karak districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, senior rescue officer Khateer Ahmed said, uprooting trees and knocking down electrical transmission towers.

Officials were working to provide emergency relief to the injured, Ahmed said.

Last year, monsoon rains and flooding devastated Pakistan, killing more than 1,700 people and affecting around 33 million people, displacing nearly 8 million.

To mitigate the effects of natural disasters, the government in it national budget draft presented Friday allocated $1.3 billion for climate resilience.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday expressed grief over the loss of life loss from the storm and directed authorities to pick up the pace of the relief operation.

Meanwhile, Sharif ordered officials to put in place emergency measures in advance of the approaching Cyclone Biparjoy in the Arabia Sea. The “severe and intense” cyclone with wind speeds of 150 kilometers per hour (93 miles per hour) was on a course toward the country’s south, Pakistan’s disaster management agency said.

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