South Asia

Flood-ravaged Pakistan hit by deadly landslips

A child plays in the rain, Risalpur, Pakistan, 08/08
Image caption Some four million people are expected to need food aid for three months

Landslides have inundated two villages in northern Pakistan, as heavy rain continues to hamper efforts to help millions affected by flooding.

Officials said 28 bodies had been recovered and 25 more people were missing after the landslides.

Pakistani media reported dozens more flood-related deaths as officials admitted they were struggling to cope.

At least 1,600 people have died in the nation's worst deluge in 80 years. Some 14 million people have been affected.

The landslides hit two villages in Gilgit-Baltistan province on Saturday, and officials are still trying to recover bodies from under the mud.

In another flood-related incident, at least 14 people were killed when a lorry carrying people across a river in Lower Dir province was swept away, according to local media.

Food prices rise

Most of the deaths have occurred in northern Pakistan, but as the rain has continued, the south is now also on red alert.

One dam in the southern Sindh province has already been breached, and engineers are warning that the huge Tarbela and Mangla dams in the north are close to their maximum levels.

Pakistan's meteorological office has warned that at least two more days of rain are expected in Sindh, where authorities have declared an "imminent" and "extreme" flood threat.

Further downpours are also forecast in the badly-hit north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Peshawar says places where floodwaters had receded are now submerged again.

The UN's World Food Programme spokesman Amjad Jamal said things were getting worse, and the rain was hampering the relief work.

He said four million people would need food aid for the next three months.

The UN's special envoy for the disaster, Jean-Maurice Ripert, told the Associated Press that the need for foreign aid was likely to grow as the reconstruction gets under way.

"The emergency phase will require hundreds of millions of dollars and the recovery and reconstruction part will require billions of dollars," he said.

The floods, brought on by seasonal monsoon rains, began in the north-west, but have now inundated a stretch of Pakistan about 1,000km (600 miles) long, primarily along the Indus river and its tributaries.

With the flood surge heading south, authorities have evacuated more than half a million people living near the Indus as hundreds of villages have been inundated by floodwaters.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Aleem Maqbool reports from the river across from the village of Khazana in north-west Pakistan

Officials say 650,000 homes have so far been destroyed across the country and 5,700 sq km (2,200 sq miles) of agricultural land has been flooded.

AP reported that the prices of some basic vegetables had quadrupled in recent days, putting them out of reach for many Pakistanis.

"It is like a fire erupted in the market, floods and rains have made these things unaffordable," one shopper in Lahore, Mohammad Siddiq, told AP.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani renewed his appeal for international help.

"The government has done everything possible but it is beyond our capacity, we are facing an extremely difficult situation," he said during a visit to Sindh province.

The US has diverted helicopters and troops from Afghanistan to deliver aid, while Nato has said it will co-ordinate supplies from member countries and partners.

A Nato spokeswoman said it was providing food, mosquito nets, tents, generators and medicines.

The UK's first aid flight arrived in Rawalpindi late on Saturday, with 500 tents to join the 2,000 already distributed.

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