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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 23:09 GMT
Rescue bid in Pakistan dam burst
Rains in Pakistan
Heavy rains have lashed a large area of Pakistan
Rescue efforts are under way after a dam burst in heavy rain in south-western Pakistan, killing at least 70 people.

About five villages were completely washed away and many houses collapsed after the dam burst near Pasni.

Officials in Balochistan province said up to 30,000 people had been affected - and they expect the death toll to rise.

Across the country, 50 more people have died in mudslides and house collapses caused by two weeks of rain and snow.

President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz have both expressed deep sorrow over the deaths across Pakistan.

Helicopter drops

Officials in Balochistan said the villages were swept away when rains breached the Shadikor dam near Pasni, 650km (400 miles) from the provincial capital, Quetta.

About 3,000 personnel from the army, navy, coastguard and civil emergency organisations have been called in for the rescue operation, amid fears the casualty figures could rise significantly.

Continued rain has hampered the search for survivors, provincial cabinet minister Sher Jan Baluch said.

Many people have moved to higher ground or are standing on roofs waiting for help.

Helicopters delivering food, medicine and tents have been dropping supplies from the air in places where they cannot land.

They have ferried about 1,000 people to safety.

However, one Baloch opposition leader, Kachkol Ali, said he believed 700 people were still missing.

'Parched province'

Some cars, trucks and buses were swept into the Arabian Sea by the flood water as they drove along a newly built highway in the Pasni region.

The rains have also washed away several bridges and part of a main road linking Pakistan's southern coast to the main cities.

Breached road in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir
Residents use a road badly damaged by rains in Muzaffarabad

"I have seen 15 bodies myself," local resident Abdul Razzaq told the AFP news agency by telephone from the area.

Meteorological experts said some parts of Pakistan had received the heaviest rain and snow in seven years, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The BBC's Paul Anderson in Islamabad says that for years Balochistan has seen nothing like this year's rains. It is a parched province that always faces near-drought.

Two more people were killed and 18 reported missing when flood waters overturned their bus elsewhere in Balochistan, officials told AP.

In Terrah, a tribal region in north-western Pakistan, the army was continuing to search for 30 soldiers missing after an avalanche.

Officials in the Himalayan town of Gilgit said the Karakoram Highway linking Pakistan with China had been blocked by landslides at several points, while two men were killed by an avalanche.

More rain is expected in the flood-hit areas

Pakistan dam-burst deaths hit 60
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Bad weather kills 17 in Pakistan
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PM leads Pakistan flood rescue
31 Jul 03 |  South Asia
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29 Jul 03 |  South Asia
Flood waters cause havoc
01 Jul 03 |  South Asia
Pakistan floods leave many dead
18 Feb 03 |  South Asia

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