At least 17 drowned after boat carrying wedding party hits flood debris in Pakistan


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The Independent Online

At least 17 people were killed in Pakistan after a boat carrying a wedding party hit debris from a dyke that has been blown up to save a town from severe flooding.

The boat, operated by the Pakistani army, hit the remains of a dyke in Punjab province that engineers had destroyed with explosives earlier in the day to prevent the flooding reaching urban areas.

Police officer Mian Tanvir, from the city of Multan, said that 18 people had been rescued. A member of the military also died. “Divers are searching for the remainder,” he told the Associated Press.

The deaths bring the number of people known to have been killed by the flooding in Pakistan to more than 300. More than 500 people have been injured and around 250,000 people evacuated from their homes. A total of two million people are estimated to have been affected.

Meanwhile, in Indian Kashmir, anger mounted on Sunday as people accused the government of having been slow to respond to the floods that hit the region a week ago. Some areas saw the worst flooding in more than 60 years.

The Indian army and rescue workers have been at the forefront of the operation to reach thousands of people, many of whom have been stranded for days. So far, the military estimates it has evacuated around 200,000 people.

But there has been criticism, particularly of the state government, for its slow response to the disaster and some people threw stones at rescue officials and police boats. The state’s chief minister has said the situation was unprecedented.

More than 200 people have died in Indian-controlled Kashmir in the floods. The waters have begun to recede over the past three days, but are leaving a trail of utter destruction. Tens of thousands of families have lost their possessions.