At least 21 people are feared dead after a van carrying a marriage party was caught in flooding and swept away in Khyber Agency on Saturday (today).
According to political administration, the van travelling from Bara to Bazaar Zakha Khel was caught in flooding in Tabai area. Between 15 to 20 people including women and children were onboard the ill-fated van.
Rescue teams have arrived at the scene and search is underway for the missing people.
The heavy monsoon rains began this month and were concentrated mainly in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which has been badly affected by flooding in recent years that some scientists have linked to climate change.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) says as many as 55 people died and 35 injured due to recent heavy rains in different parts of the country.
According to latest NDMA figures, 29 houses were fully damaged while 109 houses were partially damaged.
The flood had also damaged two schools.
NDMA had also distributed 900 tents, 43 tonnes of food items, 1,650 blankets, 600 plastic mates and 100 kitchen sets among the flood affectees.
Heavy rains and flash flood claim many victims each year, with poorly built homes across the country, particularly in rural areas, susceptible to collapse during the annual spring and monsoon rains in July-August
In April rains and landslides killed 127 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Pakistani Kashmir.
During the rainy season last summer, torrential downpours and flooding killed 81 people and affected almost 300,000 across the country.
The worst flooding in recent times occurred in 2010 and covered almost a fifth of the country’s total land mass. Nearly 2,000 people were killed, 20 million affected and huge tracts of prime farmland destroyed.
Rapid deforestation brought about by decades of illegal logging in the country’s north and the growth of farming along the river Indus in the south is believed by experts to have exacerbated the effects of the annual floods.