Nearly 15 of them had set up a cricket pitch close to a sand rock when it collapsed after a spell of rain and buried them
People ride on a horsecart through a flooded street after heavy rainfall in Lahore on July 5. — AFP
Eight children in northern Pakistan were killed by a landslide while playing cricket after monsoon rains, officials said on Friday, a year after unprecedented floods wrecked havoc in the South Asian country.
They said the incident took place in the remote Shangla district on Thursday evening and the children were all aged between 12 and 15.
Nearly 15 of them had set up a cricket pitch close to a sand rock when it collapsed after a spell of rain and buried them, the district emergency unit officer Sanaullah Khan told Reuters.
Local rescue teams, later joined by the Pakistan army, pulled out eight bodies after hours of effort, he said. One of the remaining children was critically injured, while the rest were unharmed.
Another official, Bilal Khan, said the villagers who first rushed to the site were very helpful before the rescue teams arrived.
At least 50 people, including the eight children, have been killed by floods and landslides triggered by monsoon rains that have lashed Pakistan since last month, officials said on Friday.
The summer monsoon brings South Asia 70 to 80 per cent of its annual rainfall between June and September every year.
It is vital for the livelihoods of millions of farmers and food security in a region of around two billion people — but it also brings landslides and floods.
“Fifty deaths have been reported in different rain-related incidents all over Pakistan since the start of the monsoon on June 25,” a national disaster management official told AFP, adding that 87 people were injured during this period.
The majority of the deaths were in eastern Punjab province, and were mainly due to electrocution and building collapses, official data showed.
Officials in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, said it had received record-breaking rainfall on Wednesday, turning roads into rivers and leaving almost 35 percent without electricity and water this week.
The Meteorological Department has predicted more heavy rainfall nationwide in the days ahead and warned of potential flooding in the catchment areas of Punjab’s major rivers.
The province’s disaster management authority said Friday it is working to relocate people living along the waterways.
The abnormal monsoon rains and glacial melt in Pakistan last season had caused historical flooding from the mountainous northern ranges to the southern plains, killing over 1,700 people, displacing millions, and inflicting billions of dollars in losses.
The country’s disaster management authorities have already issued alerts of heavy rains, raising risks of fresh flooding for the current monsoon season.