Karachi, Pakistan — Last month’s monsoon rains killed at least 150 people as torrential rains continue to batter Pakistan, causing flash floods in parts of the country, government officials said on Monday.
The National Disaster Management Authority said 91 women and children were among the dead so far. The monsoon rains also damaged houses, roads, five bridges and power stations across the country. At least 163 people have also been injured in rain-related incidents since June 14, it said in a statement. Heavy rains and flash floods fully or partially damaged more than 1,000 homes across the country.
The situation was particularly dire in the major southern port city of Karachi, the country’s largest, where entire neighborhoods remained submerged on Monday. Commuters found themselves stranded in spots or attempted to cross knee-deep water on foot or by bicycle. Some residents organized boats to move them to safer places.
“At the moment the situation is such that we have to travel by boat rather than vehicle because the roads are flooded,” said resident Abdul Raheem.
Other Karachi residents said they were forced to abandon their cars on submerged roads and walk in waist-deep water. Authorities have summoned paramilitary troops and the navy to help with efforts to drain water from flooded streets and evacuate people.
The rains would be almost twice as heavy as the average downpour at this time of year. They started in mid-June, initially wreaking havoc in the southwestern province of Balochistan, where 65 people have died so far.
In Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, the disaster management agency said at least 26 people had died. Heavy rains have also hit Islamabad and the eastern province of Punjab, killing at least 23 people since last month.
Authorities are delivering tents, food and other essentials to hundreds of rain-affected people in the north and southwest.
Experts say climate change is the cause of heavier than average downpours in Pakistan.
Every year, many cities in Pakistan grapple with the annual monsoon deluge, drawing criticism over poor government planning. The season runs from July to September and experts say the rains are essential to irrigate crops and fill dams and other water reservoirs in Pakistan. Parts of southern Pakistan have been facing drought since the beginning of this year.
Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed contributed to this story from Islamabad.