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Over 124 killed, thousands of houses washed away in Balochistan floods

Balochistan - Pakistan's most marginalised province is in the throes of severe flooding (Photo: @ZiauddinY/Twitter)

Severe floods have killed 124 people in Balochistan and damaged over 10,000 houses in the province. Rains and floods have destroyed bridges, breached dams, washed away roads and damaged houses in Pakistan's poorest province.

Barely a few weeks back, Balochistan was reeling under a severe drought with widespread diarrhoea and deaths due to the shortage of drinking water.

Intense rains and floods prompted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to visit the province to review rescue and relief operations. He also announced Rs one million compensation for families of people killed, Rs five lakh for people whose houses were completely destroyed and Rs two lakh for families whose houses were damaged by more than 30 per cent.

Sharif, who took an aerial view of the flooded areas, gave instructions to expedite relief operations, set up medical camps and met people.

The Balochistan Post reports that nearly 300 people are stranded in the Oraki region of district Lasbela after floods washed away their mud houses. "Despite 24 hours, the local administration has failed to save the people that are reportedly running out of food and water. The issue was also brought to the notice of the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Quddus Bizenjo, who ordered the relevant authorities to rescue the stranded".

Rains and floods have wreaked havoc in large parts of the province affecting the districts of Khuzdar, Kalat, Mastung, Lasbela and Jhal Magsi.

Pakistan's meteorological department has forecasted "above-normal" rainfall in most parts of the country in the coming weeks. The Disaster Management Authority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also issued a warning, saying that the Kabul River and its tributaries will witness high floods during the next 48 hours.

Sharif had first visited Balochistan in April this year soon after he took over as the Prime Minister from Imran Khan. He had apologised to the Baloch people for their poverty, saying: "Balochistan is Pakistan's biggest province geographically, but despite having a small population, it was left behind.”

In the last three months since then, the Baloch community has seen dozens of "enforced disappearances", attacks on women and students as well dozens of deaths due to diarrhoea, shortage of potable water and now, misery due to floods.

Balochistan makes up 40 per cent of Pakistan's geographical area with just about per cent of its population. It is, however, the poorest and the most under-developed province in all of Pakistan despite its rich deposits of mineral wealth. 

Read More: Balochistan and Sindh: Half of Pakistan suffers acute water shortage due to discrimination