Pak army deploys choppers, boats for flood relief, toll 261

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Flood
Islamabad, Sep 11: Pakistan's army today used helicopters and boats to rescue thousands of stranded people as the country grapples with the deadliest floods in its history that have killed over 260 people and affected over a million others in Punjab and PoK.

One of the main rivers of the country, Chenab, is still in high flood and has already caused widespread destruction in the agricultural backbone of Punjab. The army was called after the civilian authorities said the floods were out of control. The army is using helicopters and boats to save lives and provide food to the people.

A military statement said that since September 5, "Army troops have rescued 22,000 stranded people in the flood waters from various areas of Punjab and (Pakistan-occupied) Kashmir to safer places by army helicopters and boats".

According to the National Disaster Management Authority over one million people were affected in Punjab. At least another million are being evacuated from low lying areas near the river banks. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said the floods were the "deadliest in the history of Pakistan".

So far 261 people have been killed due to rains and floods in the country. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today visited flood-hit areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and announced that his government would provide all support to help the victims.

Paying his second visit to the region during the week, Sharif announced Rs 1 million as compensation for those killed in the disaster. Monsoon rains have played havoc in PoK, killing 64 people, according to the National Disaster Management Authority.

"It is the responsibility of the government to help flood victims," the premier said, while talking to residents of Forward Kahuta. Sharif also conducted aerial surveillance of the damage caused by floods.

He also announced to build a rail link between Islamabad and PoK capital Muzaffarabad. He also said a hospital in Haveli town would be built along with a direct road between Haveli and Rawalakot. The premier further declared that a university campus would also be built in PoK.

PTI

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