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Caritas unable to reach isolated flood-hit Pakistan

Only army is equipped to reach far flung areas in the northern valleys, says church official

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Caritas unable to reach isolated flood-hit Pakistan

Pakistanis cross a flooded street following heavy rain on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, April 4. (Photo by AFP)

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Caritas is presently unable to provide assistance to areas of north and northwest Pakistan, which have been hit by deadly floods that have killed over 90 people this week.

"Our hopes lie with army because only they are equipped to reach the flood hit far flung areas in the northern valleys," Victor Shad, executive secretary for Caritas Pakistan Islamabad-Rawalpindi told ucanews.com.

Shad said that the Catholic Church's social action arm was presently gathering data about the damage caused so they can best assist those affected.

In a press statement on April 7, the country’s National Disaster Management Authority confirmed the death of 93 people from flash floods and landslides.

Earlier this week, heavy rainfall caused a landslide in Uthoor valley of Kandia Tehsil in Dasu district, leaving 30 people buried.

Yousaf Zaia, a senior official from the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, told ucanews.com that rescue and search operations are ongoing.

"Twenty-three people remain buried. Hundreds of troops, police, district administration and volunteers are engaged in the rescue operation," Zaia said.

"So far we have managed to pull five people alive from under the rubble. Two are confirmed dead," he said, adding that there are reports of more landslides in the area.

Zaia said rescuers were trying to provide food supplies to hundreds of stranded travellers stuck on roads cut off by landslides.

The authorities have said nearly 1,500 houses have reportedly been damaged.

Over the past several years, heavy rains and flooding have affected millions of Pakistanis.

Last year flooding killed over 600 people and just over half that amount perished in 2014.

Floods in 2010 were Pakistan’s worst on record, killing more than 2,000 people and affecting the lives of 18 million.

"It is painful to see people die every year because of flooding," said Shad from Caritas.

"Generally the death toll in this annual flooding and landslides is seen as an act of God but there are scientific methods to prevent this amount of human loss," he said.

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