Monsoon rains trigger floods, kill 33 in Pakistan

August 26, 2011 - 12:50 AM

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains swept through a village in northwestern Pakistan, killing 33 people and leaving dozens others missing, disaster management officials said Friday.

The floods hit the remote Kundian Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Wednesday, destroying houses and other infrastructure, said Syed Asghar Ali Shah, the acting head of disaster management in the province.

Rescue and relief operations have been hampered by bridges and roads that were damaged last year in the worst flooding in Pakistan's history and have not been fixed, said Shah. Authorities sent two helicopters to help with the operations Thursday and hope to send another Friday, he said.

At least 33 people have been killed, and 38 others are still missing, including eight children, said Adnan Khan, spokesman for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's disaster management agency.

Heavy rains are expected to continue in the area for at least another 24 hours, according to Pakistan's meteorological department.

Monsoon rains begin in July in Pakistan and often lead to flooding. The floods that hit last year inundated about one-fifth of the country — an area the size of the United Kingdom — and affected up to 20 million people.

Experts have warned that many citizens are more vulnerable to flooding this year because they have not recovered from last year's tragedy.