ISLAMABAD (AP) — Military specialists blew up dikes in central Pakistan to divert swollen rivers and save cities from raging floods that have killed hundreds of people, authorities said Saturday, as officials stepped up efforts in India’s part of Kashmir to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases there.

In Pakistan, the breaches at the overflowing Chenab River were performed overnight as floodwaters reached Multan, a city famous for its Sufi saints. Pakistani news channels showed pictures of floodwaters gushing through the blown-up dikes.

Civil and military officials have been using helicopters and boats to evacuate marooned people since Sept. 3, when floods triggered by monsoon rains hit Pakistan and Kashmir, which is divided between Pakistan and neighboring India.

Pakistan’s military said in a statement Saturday that it was still evacuating people and air-dropping food in the districts of Multan, Muzaffargarh and Jhang. It said troops had air-dropped tons of food in flood-affected areas, while the army’s medical teams were also treating patients.

Ahmad Kamal, the spokesman for Pakistan’s National Disaster Management authority, said rains and floods had killed 280 people and injured more than 500 in Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. He said more than 2 million people had been affected.

Kamal said rescuers had evacuated 276,681 persons from flood-hit areas and aerial monitoring was being done through helicopters.

On Saturday, state-run Pakistan television showed pictures of men and women wading through waist-deep waters. It also showed army helicopters plucking people from rooftops and trees in inundated villages. Pictures taken from helicopters showed submerged villages and towns in the districts of Jhang and Multan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is himself supervising rescue operations, traveled to Jhang on Saturday.

In a televised speech there, Sharif said his government was exempting flood-affected people from paying their electricity bills.

“I assure you that we will rebuild your homes. We will do whatever is possible to help you,” he told a gathering of survivors near a flooded village.

About 200 people have died in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where floodwaters have receded, enabling people to return to their homes.

Medical teams in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-held Kashmir, were stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases, officials said Saturday.

Elsewhere in Indian-controlled Kashmir, army troops evacuated nearly 150,000 people whose homes were flooded. Troops and army engineers were working to restore the vital Jammu-Srinagar highway, which links Indian Kashmir to the rest of the country. The highway remained closed for the 10th straight day Saturday due to landslides and fallen rocks.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

More news you might be interested in

A Pakistani was killed after crossing into the Ind... A Pakistani was killed after crossing into the Indian side of Kashmir, officials on both sides said on Friday, but their competing accounts indicated ...
Heavy Rain and Floods kills 17 in Pakistan ISLAMABAD: At least six people were killed on Wednesday when their pick-up truck was swept away by a seasonal stream in southwest Pakistan, officials ...
Indian deputy high commissioner summoned over LoC ... MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan summoned India's deputy ambassador on Monday to protest over the latest clashes in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir ...
Rains and floods kill 36 in Pakistan Islamabad (AFP) - Torrential rains and floods in Pakistan have left 36 dead and affected more than 250,000 people, disaster management officials said ...
Lt Gen (Retd) Naseer Khan Janjua may replace Sarta... ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is about to appoint a former general as national security advisor, tightening the powerful military’s control over security policy...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here