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PESHAWAR, Aug 5: At least 70 people were killed – 50 of them in one incident – as rains and flash-floods continued to cause devastation in various parts of the NWFP and tribal areas on Saturday.

Mardan was the worst affected after a portion of a bridge over a flooded Kalpani nullah collapsed at around 10:30am when dozens of people were standing on it, witnesses and officials said. A large number of people fell into the nullah and were swept away by floodwater.

Elsewhere in the province, an unspecified number of houses caved in and several roads came under water.

Rescuers had retrieved 24 bodies from the Kalpani nullah till 6.30pm. Seven of the dead belong to the same family.

The volunteers were facing difficulties as electricity supply to the area had been suspended and they had been using torches and gas-lamps to retrieve bodies.

Mothers and sisters and wives wailed as divers fished out one body after another.

The bridge, connecting Par Hoti and Old Hoti, is located in Sawae Mohallah and most victims were residents of adjacent localities. The hydrology division of the irrigation department in a report said the nullah near Risalpur was flowing in extreme flood with an unprecedented discharge of 91,688 cusecs of water.

The sources said that the death toll could rise as a number of those fell into the nullah were yet to be accounted for.

A major portion of Mardan city was inundated as floodwater had entered houses, hospitals and markets.

“It was raining and about 100 people were standing on the bridge, enjoying themselves. We asked them to leave, but they ignored. At around 10.30am the bridge collapsed,” said Sahib Jan, a revenue official.

Locals carrying out the rescue operation complained that the district administration and army troops did not respond to their calls for help.

“Almost 60 per cent of the city is under water,” said a police official, adding that most localities were without electricity.

In Lower Dir, nine people, including six children, were killed. Flash-flood swept away a college teacher and four children at Gulabad and Midan areas.

Officials said that Panjkora River was in high flood, inundating the adjacent farmland. Heavy rains and floods damaged the telecommunication and power supply system and several roads.

One man was killed in Charsadda and two others drowned in a stream in Karak district.

Authorities imposed section 144CrPC in areas along the Indus River in Dera Ismail Khan after a child drowned.

Eight people were killed in Shagu area of the Bajaur Agency when several houses collapsed owing to rains in the Mamond tehsil along the Afghan border.