ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — More than 1,000 people have died in northwest Pakistan after record-breaking rainfall over the past week sent rivers over their banks, officials said Sunday. The flooding has also leveled thousands of homes, washed away riverfront hotels and drowned livestock, they said.
The crisis comes as the government is struggling to fight an Islamic insurgency and to cope with the aftermath of Wednesday’s plane crash in which 152 people died in the fog- and rain-shrouded Himalayan foothills just outside this capital city. It was the deadliest domestic plane crash in Pakistan’s history.
Officials said the deluge was the worst since 1929 in northwest Pakistan, where water levels in dams continued to rise. And with more rain forecast for all but that part of the country, increasing the likelihood of more flash floods and landslides, government officials issued pleas for international aid.
“We are carrying out this rescue despite limited resources,” Lutfur Rehman, a government official in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, formerly the North-West Frontier Province, told The Associated Press. The area, already ravaged by terrorism that has led to a decline in the economy, needed more helicopters and boats to aid in rescues, he said.
Also hit hard was the Swat Valley, where the government has been working on reconstruction after last year’s military operation there to remove the militants; of the 65 bridges washed away by the rains, 25 were in Swat.