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Pakistan: 24 people killed, several injured in lightning strikes and rain-related mishaps

Islamabad [Pakistan]: As many as 24 people have died and several others were injured in lightning strikes and rain-related incidents in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa areas of Pakistan as downpours continued to lash the three provinces for a second day on Saturday, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.

Highways, roads and houses were damaged due to heavy rains, disrupting traffic and forcing people to move to safe places. As many as 17 people, including children, died and five fell unconscious in lightning strikes in six districts of Pakistan's Punjab.

The districts that have been impacted include Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur and Lodhran. Six people were killed due to lightning strikes in Rahim Yar Khan district.

Of these, a couple lost their lives due to lightning strikes while harvesting wheat in Basti Khokhran. The couple have been identified as Hafeez (45) and Kulsoom (40), according to Dawn report.

Two siblings, aged nine and seven, were killed by the sudden bolt of lightning in Basti Kalhora and a man was killed in Thal Hassan, according to rescue officials. Labourer Muhammad Hassan Mohana died while harvesting wheat in his fields at Janpur.

In Bahawalpur, three people lost their lives and two got injured. Lightning struck multiple locations, resulting in the death of a woman and injuries to two others in Ahmedpur East. Shaheena Bibi (22), Iqra Bibi (25) and Karim Bakhsh (70) were reportedly injured.

Rescue 1122 tried to rescue a child in Yazman. However, he could not survive. Furthermore, a man, a baby girl and a cow were also killed in the Jatoi area of Muzaffargarh. A child died and two people were injured in Sheher Sultan.

Abdul Ghaffar (35), Muhammad Azhar (23) and Bashir Ahmad (65) died in Lodhran. Muhammad Ahmed and Mansab Ali and Muhammad Nasir died in Bahawalnagar, while Sajida Bibi and Muhammad Hassan from Bahawalnagar were injured. Ghulam Sarwar (20) lost his life in Rajanpur.

According to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) spokesperson, death toll from the lightning strikes in Punjab rose to 17. PDMA Director General (DG) Irfan Ali Kathia asked the deputy commissioners concerned to provide best medical aid to the injured.

He said financial support will be given to the families of the deceased and called on people to stay in safe places during inclement weather and avoid unnecessary travel.

Meanwhile, Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz, while talking to the media, said the combination of sea breezes with cold winds had increased the chances of tornadoes and lightning, Dawn reported.

The death toll from lightning and rain-related incidents in Balochistan rose to eight after five more people were killed in the Chaman and Dera Bugti areas on Saturday. According to officials, three people were killed after lightning struck a village in Chaman.

Local residents rushed the people to nearby hospitals where doctors confirmed their death. Two people were killed by lightning in the Loop area of Dera Bugti. As per reports, Dera Bugti and Kohlu received heavy rain that led to flood-like situation in many areas.

Several mud houses were damaged while seasonal streams and rivers were carrying heavy floodwater. Continued rains caused urban flooding in Quetta and water entered many houses in low-lying areas on the outskirts of the provincial capital, forcing the people to move to safer places, as per the Dawn report.

Officials advised people to avoid unnecessary journey as landslides are expected due to heavy rains, particularly on Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan Highway and Bolan Pass, according to Dawn report.

Two persons were killed and 10 others were injured in rain-related incidents in Lower and Upper Chitral districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as heavy downpours continued to lash large parts of the province on Saturday. Several roads linking two districts were damaged and eight houses collapsed due to heavy rain and landslides. 

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