Rescuers trying to reach thousands of Pakistani flood victims were hampered by deluged roads and damaged bridges today, though there were signs waters were receding in parts of the country.
Floods killed more than 430 people this week, left some 400,000 people stranded in far-flung villages, and severely damaged the nation's already-weak infrastructure.
In the northwest, the hardest-hit region, it was the worst flooding since 1929, a point hammered home by TV footage of people clinging to fences and each other as water gushed over their heads. Scores of men, women and children sat on their roofs as they waited for help.
The U.N. estimated Saturday that some 1 million people were affected, though it didn't specify exactly what that meant. It said rescuers were using army helicopters, heavy trucks and boats to try reaching flood-hit areas, but noted thousands of homes and roads were destroyed, and at least 45 bridges across the northwest damaged.
That destruction is slowing the rescue effort, said Luther Rehman, a government official in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, the northwest province. Floodwaters were receding in some areas in the northwest, he said.
"Our priority is to transport flood-affected people to safer places. We are carrying out this rescue operation despite limited resources," he said, adding they needed more helicopters and boats.
The flooding capped an already deadly week in Pakistan. A passenger jet slammed into hills overlooking Islamabad killing all 152 people on board Wednesday, and bad weather is suspected to have played a role.Reuse content