Lightning, rains kill 41 people in Pakistan as authorities declare a state of emergency in southwest

NEW DELHI: Tragedy struck Pakistan over the weekend as storm-related incidents claimed the lives of at least 41 individuals across the country, with lightning strikes and flash floods wreaking havoc in various regions. The authorities in the country’s southwest have declared a state of emergency.
According to officials, 28 people lost their lives due to lightning strikes since Friday, while Pakistan’s national disaster management authority (NDMA) has issued warnings of landslides and flash floods as more rain is forecasted in the coming days.
Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, bore the brunt of the devastation, with 21 fatalities attributed to lightning strikes between Friday and Sunday alone.
“I have asked the NDMA to coordinate with the provinces… and for the NDMA to provide relief goods to areas where damages occurred,” said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday, emphasizing the need for swift action in response to the crisis.
Residents in rural areas, particularly those living in open spaces, remain most vulnerable to lightning strikes during thunderstorms, highlighting the urgent need for awareness and preventive measures.
In Balochistan province, eight individuals lost their lives, with seven falling victim to lightning strikes. The region, battered by relentless rain, witnessed flooding in 25 districts, prompting the closure of schools on Monday and Tuesday, disrupting the return of students following the Eid al-Fitr holidays.
Southern Sindh province reported four fatalities due to road accidents caused by flooded roads, while in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight individuals, including four children, perished as houses collapsed amid heavy downpours.
Speaking to local media, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari attributed the surge in lightning incidents to climate change, underscoring the nation’s increasing vulnerability to unpredictable weather patterns.
As Pakistan braces for the onset of monsoon rains, typically arriving in July, the recent spate of storms serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for robust disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies nationwide.
(With inputs from agencies)


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