Hundreds killed by flooding in Karachi

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At least 228 people have been killed in Pakistan as heavy rain and thunderstorms brought devastation to Karachi, causing houses to collapse and severing electrical cables. A further 200 people were injured.

The death toll from the storms had initially been placed at 43 but was rapidly increased after 185 more bodies were counted at the city's mortuary. Sardar Ahmed, minister of health for Sindh province, of which the port city of Karachi is the capital, said: "These deaths are caused by electrocution, falling trees, house collapses and road accidents. We have declared an emergency at all government hospitals and cancelled the vacations and leave of doctors and paramedics."

Staff at the Edhi Foundation, which runs one of the mortuaries, told the Associated Press that many of the victims came from Gadab Town, a cluster of mud-hut villages on the eastern edge of the city. Most of the deaths were caused by collapsing homes but snapped power lines electrocuted many people. Other deaths were caused in traffic jams and accidents when Karachi's main road, Shahra-e-Faisal, was blocked by fallen debris.

Yesterday the authorities were concentrating on clearing up the damage rather than working on resuming power supplies, something that angered residents in some neighbourhoods who staged street demonstrations. The city has had numerous riots in recent weeks as a result of power failures during the sweltering summer months when temperatures have reached 40C.

"We are doing our best to restore power supply, but I must say the situation is very bad," said Syed Sultan Hasan, a spokesman for Karachi's power company. Officials said they have set up a relief camp in Gadab Town to provide food, medicine and shelter for people whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

In neighbouring India, at least 35 people have died in two days of heavy rains in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where aid workers backed by military helicopters battled to provide food and water for 200,000 people displaced by monsoon floods.

Reports say 50 people died as a result of the rains in the western state of Maharashtra and in south-west Kerala about 20 people died over the two days, many electrocuted by falling power lines or killed in landslides.

In northern areas of Bangladesh, about 30 people have died of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases after floods in the Brahmaputra river.