Storms and Lightning Strike Pakistan, Claiming Dozens of Lives

At least 65 people have lost their lives in storm-related incidents, including lightning strikes, across Pakistan, officials reported. The heavy rainfall, which has been nearly double the historical average rate for April, led to flash floods and structural collapses.

Between Friday and Monday, torrential downpours wreaked havoc, resulting in the collapse of houses and claiming the lives of at least 28 individuals due to lightning strikes. The worst-hit region was the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where 32 people, including 15 children, lost their lives, and over 1,300 homes were damaged.

Anwar Khan, spokesperson for the province’s disaster management authority, attributed the casualties to collapsing walls and roofs of buildings. Villagers affected by the floods sought refuge on higher ground, improvising shelters with plastic sheeting and bamboo sticks along motorways.

Zaheer Ahmad Babar, spokesperson for the Pakistan Meteorological Department, highlighted the unusual rainfall patterns observed in April, noting that precipitation levels surpassed the historical average by 99 percent from April 1st to April 17th. He attributed these anomalies to climate change, affecting not only Pakistan but the entire region.

While rainfall subsided temporarily on Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasts predict more downpours in the coming days, exacerbating the situation. Pakistan’s vulnerability to unpredictable weather patterns, compounded by destructive monsoon rains expected in July, underscores the urgent need for resilience measures.

In Punjab province, 21 individuals, including farmers harvesting wheat, succumbed to lightning strikes. Balochistan province also witnessed fatalities, with eight casualties, including seven due to lightning strikes, and extensive damage from rain and flooding in 25 districts.

The risk of lightning strikes is higher in open, rural areas, posing a significant threat to communities during thunderstorms. In response to the adverse weather conditions, authorities in Balochistan ordered the closure of schools on Monday and Tuesday, with some resuming operations on Wednesday.

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