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Pakistani flood victims riot after little help arrives

Pakistani flood victims riot after little help arrives
AP
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First Published: Sat, Jun 30 2007. 06 39 AM IST
Updated: Sat, Jun 30 2007. 06 39 AM IST
Turbat, Pakistan: Hungry victims of monsoon-spawned floods in Pakistan rioted over the slow, meager aid reaching their marooned villages, where many feared the receding waters will yield numerous bodies.
Police fired tear gas shells and shots into the air on 29 June, but failed to disperse several thousand villagers who broke into and ransacked the mayor’s office in the southwestern, floodwater-ringed southwestern city of Turbat.
The widespread flooding followed torrential rains from Cyclone Yemyin on 26 June.
Protesters said they had waded through chest-deep water from outlying areas to voice their anger about a dearth of relief aid. They said they received only packets of biscuits and bottles of water.
“Every family is looking for one or two members. They are all missing,” said Chaker Baloth, who walked more than 40 kilometers through the night to reach this city of 1,50,000.
The government said the official death toll in Baluchistan province was 14, with more than 24 missing. Local media reported much higher numbers.
Farqooq Ahmed Khan, head of the National Disaster Management Authority, said accurate figures were unavailable due to poor communications in stricken areas.
Military helicopters dropped relief supplies, but many of the more than 8,00,000 flood-hit people in the southwest apparently got little or nothing.
Flash floods killed 20 on 28 June in the northwestern Khyber Agency tribal area, said government official Ilyas Khan.
Floods that damaged several bridges there forced the temporary suspension of the voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees through the North West Frontier Province, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said on 29 June.
More than 2 million Afghans still live in camps along the border after fleeing decades of conflict in their country.
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First Published: Sat, Jun 30 2007. 06 39 AM IST
More Topics: Pakistan | Flood | International News | Asia |