07/13/2005, 00.00
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Villages and farm lands flooded

by Qaiser Felix

Faisalabad (AsiaNews) – At least ten people died and many were injured or went missing as a result of torrential rains which hit Pakistan in recent days.

Some 348,000 people have been forced from their homes. Serious damage has been done to about 19,000 homes and to crops and farmland.

Altogether, flooding has affected 11 districts in Punjab province covering more than 83,000 km2, said Mian Akram, Relief Department operations director, who spoke to AsiaNews.

He also reported that residents in some villagers have become stranded on the roofs of their homes, waiting for rescue operations to reach them.

The lack of proper medical facilities means there is a high risk of disease outbreaks—stomach and skin related infections are on increase in flood-hit areas. Meanwhile, people in many affected areas are complaining about shortage of food and medicines.

With mud-houses collapsing along the rivers' route, hundreds of villages have been evacuated and people are being moved to safe places by the army's rescue teams.

Relief and rescue operations have also been launched by several non-governmental organizations. Helicopters are also being used to airlift food to flood victims.

Flooding has hit mostly families of day labourers and small farmers whose mud-houses have been wiped out. Given their poverty, food is scarce since few had any reserve.

At least 14 people were killed and 11 others seriously injured when a relief boat carrying flood victims hit electricity poles in Rojahan Pur in Punjab province on July 11.

According to police, four children and six women were among the dead. The injured, mostly women and children, were taken to medical camps for treatment.

According to latest report, many bodies had not yet been retrieved from the waters.

The Punjab Board of Revenue's Relief Department has announced that compensation would be paid out for the loss of human life and livestock as well as for damages to homes.

The director general of Punjab Relief Muhammad Irfan said that in the case of the death of a breadwinner, his or her legal heirs would get Rs 100,000 (€ 1,400, US$ 1,700) while the seriously injured would get Rs 50,000. In the case of the death of a non-breadwinner, his or her legal heirs would get Rs 65,000.

Catholic Relief Service is going to provide a relief package to about 1,000 families for a month. The Service will also supply multi-purpose plastic sheets to flood victims.

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