Communication links in Pakistan’s Balochistan province severed by floods
By Gul Yousafzai
QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Already hit by flash floods, Pakistan’s Balochistan province lost communication with the rest of the country after overnight rains as the South Asian nation struggles to cope with the humanitarian catastrophe, officials said officials on Friday.
Monsoon rains and historic floods in Pakistan have affected more than 30 million people in recent weeks, the country’s climate change minister said on Thursday, calling the situation a “climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions”. .
The destruction of infrastructure and the breakdown of communication links add to the difficulties encountered by the authorities in the rescue and relief efforts in the region.
Pakistan has appealed to the international community for help as it struggles to cope with the aftermath of torrential rains that triggered massive floods, killing more than 900 people.
Balochistan’s air, road and rail networks are already suspended, cutting it off from the rest of the country.
“Due to torrential rains and flash flooding in the Balochistan fiber optic cable, voice and data services have been affected in Quetta and the rest of the major cities in the province,” the Pakistan Telecom Authority said. (PTA) on Twitter.
Efforts are being made to resolve this unprecedented situation, he added.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter on Friday that he had met with ambassadors and other senior diplomats in Islamabad “as part of efforts to mobilize all resources”.
A major railway bridge was swept away between Kolpur and Mach in the Bolan Pass, cutting off Quetta, the capital of southwestern Balochistan, from the rest of the country for an indefinite period, officials said.
The four highways connecting Balochistan to other provinces have been blocked due to damaged bridges and landslides.
So far more than 235 people have been killed in the province and hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, authorities said.
(Writing by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)