Death toll from monthlong rains rises to 133

ISLAMABAD, July 24 (BNA): Landslides triggered by heavy rains have blocked several major roads in northern Pakistan, stranding tourists and disrupting traffic, officials said Monday, as the death toll from weather-related accidents in the past month rose to at least 133.

Thousands of tourists have packed into scenic tourist destinations in the north in recent days, ignoring warnings from the disaster management agency, which told people last week to avoid nonessential trips because persistent monsoon rains can cause landslides and flash floods, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Landslides caused by rains hit several roads in Chitral, Dir and Patgram districts in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Sunday. Taimur Khan, a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority, said authorities were trying to clear roads to restore traffic in mountainous areas.

At least 133 people have been killed in weather-related accidents across Pakistan since June 24 when the monsoon rains began.

Heavy rains have swollen three major rivers: the Jhelum, Sutlej and Chenab in eastern Punjab province, prompting the disaster management agency to take high alert for more flash floods, which have already affected at least 15,000 people in the past three weeks.

Monsoon rains have returned to Pakistan a year after devastating floods killed 1,739 people across the country. The monsoon season, which officially started on July 1, will continue until September in the South Asian country.


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