Authorities in Pakistan’s northwest on Monday reported 65 more fatalities from a week of heavy rain and snow, pushing the nationwide death toll from the harsh winter weather to over 400 as relief efforts continued.
The emergency relief department in North West Frontier Province said that roads to badly affected areas remained blocked by landslides and snow, hampering efforts to provide food, medicine, tents and blankets to the needy.
An official at the department in the provincial capital Peshawar, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the province’s death toll had reached 165, as reports filtered in from remote areas of 65 more fatalities in recent days.
The provincial government had released $1 million for district authorities to buy relief supplies, he said.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz flew by helicopter over affected areas of the province on Monday morning and later told reporters in Islamabad that between 150 and 200 dead had been reported, but numbers of fatalities were still coming in.
Among the latest victims was a family of five killed Monday when the roof of their home collapsed in Lower Bir district of worst-hit Malakand division, said Addaullah Khan Wazir, a senior police official in Malakand.
Homes buried by snow
At least 15 people were killed and four others missing when homes were buried by avalanches late last week in the Kaghan area, near Pakistan-held Kashmir, said Mohammed Arif, a survivor who was evacuated by a military helicopter to Muzzafarabad, the capital of Kashmir, on Monday.
Meanwhile, the relief efforts continued in southwestern Baluchistan province, where thousands of troops have been mobilized to help displaced villagers, and the United Nations has pledged $100,000 for food, shelter and safe water.
Authorities in Quetta, the provincial capital, have reported about 200 deaths in flooding across the province, including dozens killed when a dam burst near the Arabian Sea coast. As many as 1,500 more people are reported missing.
Another 56 people have died in the Pakistan-held portion of Kashmir, most of them buried by avalanches the Himalayan region.
However, there have been conflicting reports of the death toll, with central government officials including President Gen. Pervez Musharraf saying fatalities have been exaggerated, particularly in Baluchistan.
There was heavy rain in Baluchistan Monday, and more snow in Kashmir, but conditions appeared to be easing in North West Frontier Province.