PESHAWAR, Aug 4: Torrential rains triggered flash floods in Peshawar suburbs and the adjoining Khyber Agency on Monday, inundating large areas and killing at least 22 people. Eleven people were injured as raging torrents washed away hundreds of homes, destroyed crops over a wide area and killed livestock.

Nullah Budhni and Araban, started overflowing before dawn, washed away four bridges and caused widespread damage in Nasir Bagh, Dag Kali, Mattra, Babu Garhi, Khushal Park and Hassan Garhi.

However a provincial minister and the Crisis Management Centre put the death toll at seven. It said that the number might increas as search-and-rescue work progressed. Police and hospital sources said that 13 people had died — seven in Regi and six in areas along the Budhni channel.

Khyber Agency’s administration reported seven deaths in Bara tehsil and two in Jamrud.

Head of the provincial flood warning centre Izat Khan told Dawn that Nullah Budhni and other streams in the north had devastated a vast area within a radius of 15 to 18 kilometres.

“At the moment it is impossible to assess the extent of damage. The flooding may have damaged hundreds of houses,” said Mr Khan, adding, however, that the flood in Budhni was subsiding.

Local Met office said that Peshawar and adjoining areas had received 75mm of rain early on Monday morning.

Army has been put on alert and a rescue and relief operation has been launched. Stranded people are being evacuated with the help of helicopters and boats.

The NWFP Flood Relief Commissioner has asked the National Disaster Management Authority to send 10,000 tents and blankets and other essential items. According to a statement, 1,000 tents and blankets have been distributed among the displaced people.

Emergency has been declared in the tribal region’s hospitals.

Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti and provincial ministers visited various flood-affected areas and assured full support to the people. The army has set up a flood monitoring cell at the Corps Headquarters in Peshawar.

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