Heavy rains followed by strong winds killed at least 27 people, including eight children, in northwest Pakistan, officials said on Sunday. The storms hit four districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province late Saturday, with five siblings aged between two and 11 among the dead.
“At least 12 people were buried alive after the roofs and walls of their houses collapsed,” Taimur Ali Khan, a spokesman for the provincial disaster management authority, told AFP.
More than 140 people were injured and more than 200 livestock died, he said.
Authorities have declared an emergency in all four districts.
Meanwhile, a cyclone is making its way across the Arabian Sea towards the coastlines of Pakistan and India, expected to make landfall at the end of the week.
Pakistani authorities said they would begin evacuating between 8,000 and 9,000 families from along the coastline of Sindh province, including in the mega port city of Karachi, home to around 20 million people.
The army will be deployed from Monday to assist.
The cyclone could bring winds, storm surges and urban flooding from Tuesday evening as it approaches, the disaster management agency said on Sunday.
“Fishermen are advised not to venture into the open sea until the (weather) system is over by June 17,” the agency said.
In neighboring India, the Meteorological Department reported on Sunday that the storm would likely cross the Saurashtra and Kutch areas of western Gujarat state as well as adjacent Pakistani coasts around noon on Thursday.
It warned it would likely make landfall as a “very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 125-135 kmph, gusting to 150 kmph (93 miles per hour).”
Scientists say climate change is making seasonal rains heavier and more unpredictable.
Pakistan, which has the world’s fifth largest population, is responsible for only 0.8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions but is one of the most vulnerable nations to extreme weather caused by global warming.
Last summer, unprecedented monsoon rains put a third of the country under water, damaging two million homes and killing more than 1,700 people.
In India, natural catastrophes are forecast to cause more misery as the planet’s climate warms and makes weather more volatile.