Severe rain and lightning strikes kill 36 people

ISLAMABAD, PK – A series of severe weather events, including lightning strikes and heavy rainfall, have led to the tragic loss of 36 lives across Pakistan in the last three days. The majority of these fatalities have been reported in the eastern Punjab province, where lightning strikes and rain-induced house collapses have been prevalent.

The southwestern province of Baluchistan has also been significantly affected, with seven lives lost due to the extreme weather conditions. Similarly, the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has reported eight fatalities. Most of the victims were farmers, who were caught in the open while harvesting wheat when the lightning struck.

Arfan Kathia, a spokesperson for the provincial disaster management authority, confirmed that the rains are expected to continue throughout the week. The capital, Islamabad, has also been hit by the rains, causing widespread flooding in the northwestern city of Peshawar and Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan. The situation in Baluchistan has escalated to the point where a state of emergency has been declared.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has publically expressed his concern over the situation, ordering immediate relief aid for the rain-affected regions. Despite the devastation, Sharif noted the potential benefits of the rainfall in replenishing Pakistan’s water reservoirs.

In a related development, Afghanistan has also been hit by heavy flooding from seasonal rains, resulting in 33 deaths and 27 injuries within the same three-day period. The floods have caused extensive property and infrastructure damage, with over 600 houses destroyed or damaged, significant agricultural land affected, and over 53 miles of roads disrupted.

Rafay Alam, a Pakistani environmental expert, has linked these unusual April showers to climate change. Alam recalled a heat wave in the same period two years ago, followed by heavy flooding in 2022 that resulted in significant loss of life and property.