PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Heavy monsoon rains overnight triggered flash floods that killed at least 30 people in a remote village in northern Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, officials said Sunday.
Maghfirat Shah, the mayor of Chitral district, said heavy monsoon rains and flash floods washed away a mosque and several houses in Ursoon, an area of Chitral. He said that the four women and five children were among the 30 killed.
The flash flooding hit as people were offering up special Ramadan prayers at the mosque. Dozens of worshippers were swept away in the flood waters, which destroyed the mosque and damaged several nearby houses and a security post, Shah said.
The bad weather hampered rescue efforts, but by morning most of the bodies had been recovered and one person had been rescued, Shah said.
A spokesman for the disaster management authority, Yousuf Zia, said search crews recovered the bodies of seven people. He said 30 people were missing and believed dead. Authorities called for helicopters to join the rescue and relief operation because nearby roads had been washed away, Zia said, adding that in areas where the weather had cleared teams were already distributing essential goods.
Some 37 houses were completely destroyed and 47 were partly damaged, according to an initial report by the disaster management authority.
The provincial chief minister, Pervez Khattak, expressed his grief over the tragedy and announced that the families would receive compensation of $300 for each loss of life. He said that he had given orders for disaster management officials to quickly provide the affected communities with tents, food, medicine and other relief goods.
Chitral is in the far north of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan's Nooristan and Badakhshan provinces.
This story has been corrected to show that the flooding took place in Ursoon, not Arsun.