At least 23 people have died and dozens more, including women and children, are missing after heavy rains and flash floods wreaked havoc in Azad Kashmir’s Neelum Valley on Monday.
Over 150 houses in the Laswa area of the valley were damaged and dozens of people were swept away in floods that officials said were caused by a cloudburst.
Many structures in Laswa’s main market, including two mosques, were also completely destroyed. Traffic flow in the area has been severely disrupted, while cell phone and internet services are also affected.
Several people are still stranded in their houses and efforts are underway to evacuate them.
Teams including officials from the district administration, disaster management authority and local police are conducting rescue operations in the area.
State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) Director Operations Saaedur Rehman Qureshi confirmed the death toll and said it was likely to rise over the coming hours.
He said the deceased include 10 Islamic missionaries from the Tablighi Jamaat, four of whom were from Lahore, five from Faisalabad and one from Sheikhupura.