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Page last updated at 08:48 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 09:48 UK

Monsoon wreaks havoc in Pakistan

A flooded road in Karachi on July 18, 2009
More rains are predicted in Karachi and Balochistan

At least 15,000 people have been made homeless after heavy rains caused a breach in a dam under construction in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

More than a dozen villages in Barkhan district were flooded as monsoon rains lashed the region.

Meanwhile, heavy rains in Karachi have shut down the airport's computer system, causing major delays.

The meteorological office is predicting more rains in Balochistan and Karachi over the next 24 hours.

Officials in the south-western province of Balochistan said that although nobody had been seriously injured because they had sufficient warning, they expected more people could be left homeless by the rains and the flooding.

Homes 'destroyed'

"Damage is pretty widespread. I would assume the number of affected people is far more than 15,000, but we are still conducting a survey of damages," the mayor of Barkhan district, Habib Ullah, told the BBC.

"For two hours torrential rains lashed the affected areas on Wednesday night. Damani dam, which is under construction, breached and inundated crops across a vast land area," he said.

Flash floods also hit the Barkhan town area, washing away cattle and destroying crops and houses.

"At least 100 houses have been rendered unliveable in the town area and residents have shifted to other places," Mr Ullah said.

The mayor stressed the need for shelter and food for those left homeless by the bad weather. He said people also needed medicine for gastroenteritis and snake bites - problems that commonly arise in the monsoon season.

Major delays

The bad weather has also caused chaos in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi.

A Pakistan International Airlines spokesman said computer systems crashed after the fibre-optic link snapped in torrential rains.

Reports say tickets and boarding cards are being issued manually and some passengers have complained that they have been waiting from four to six hours to board their flights.

At least 26 people died after heavy monsoon rain in Karachi last Sunday, officials said. Several low-lying parts of the city were flooded.

Correspondents say an ageing drainage system leaves parts of Karachi vulnerable to flooding.

Riots spread across the city and country after rains caused a 36-hour power blackout.

The monsoon wreaks chaos in Pakistan almost every year.



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