PESHAWAR - Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has said that provincial government will not leave the rain-affected people alone in the hour of need.

The chief minister also directed the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) to release additional funds to the severely affected districts Dir Upper and Kohistan, and provide relief goods to district administration for distribution in Malakand and Hazara rain-hit areas. PDMA is providing all possible assistance and carrying out rescue and relief operations in the affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

An additional amount of Rs 5.0 million was released to Dir Upper while Rs 10 million released to Deputy Commissioner Kohistan for relief activities in the affected region, said spokesperson PDMA.

He said PDMA has dispatched 500 large food packages including sufficient quantity of wheat flour, sugar, rice, ghee, tea pulses etc to Kohistan on Tuesday evening for rains/land sliding affected families.

He also said PDMA is in close contact with all DCs monitoring the situation proactively, adding 200 each relief items i.e. tents, 400 blankets, mats and other required items dispatched from PDMA warehouse to district Swat, Shangla, Lower Dir and Upper Dir to DCs and were distributed amongst the affected families.

Meanwhile, the death toll in rain-related incidents across the province reached to 61 and this number may increase. According to a spokesman of PDMA, 52 people were injured and total 375 houses were damaged in the incidents. He said most of the casualties occurred due to roof collapse and land sliding and maximum incidents were reported from Shangla, Swat, Kohistan, Mardan and other parts of the province. Rescue operation has been started and till last night 7 persons were rescued in which two dead and five seriously injured while the search operation is continued to rescue remaining 23 persons.

DEATH TOLL FROM RAINS RISES TO 71

AFP adds: The death toll after heavy rains in counry’s northwest and in Kashmir rose to 71 Tuesday, officials said, as rescuers sought to evacuate dozens of people still trapped by landslides.

Ten more people were found dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the weekend downpour triggered landslides and collapsed the roofs of dozens of houses.

“The number known to have died in rains so far in the northwest has now risen to 61 with over 350 houses damaged all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” a spokesman for the local disaster management authority said in a statement.

At least 30 people were still stranded following a heavy landslide in the area of Khoistan, he said.

While in Azad Kashmir, dozens of local tourists remained marooned in the picturesque Neelum Valley as authorities attempted to evacuate them, a local official there told AFP.

At least 10 people have been confirmed killed there since the rain began Saturday.

“My children are sitting under the open sky. My cattle and belongings were trapped under the debris,” local resident Nasim Atakhar told AFP after her house collapsed.