Shakidor Dam bursts in Pakistan after heavy rain

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Friday, February 11, 2005

After a week of heavy rain and snow, the Shakidor Dam near the coast of the southwestern Pakistan province of Baluchistan burst around 6:00 pm local time. So far, at least seventy people have died after five villages were swept away. Many bodies have been recovered by Coast Guard vessels sweeping the sea off the affected area with fishing nets.

Provincial Minister Sher Jan Baloch announced troops have been called out for rescue operations. "The army has started rescue operations to try to save as many lives as possible." While over 1,000 have been rescued, possibly as many as 700 are missing - they may have been swept out to see, or may be seeking refuge on high ground or elsewhere. Alotogether, over 30,000 people have been affected.

President Musharaf has announced a million dollars for the victims.

The 148 m (485 ft) long Shakidor Dam near Pasni failed on Friday, sending thousands of people fleeing for safety. The dam, 800 km south of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, was built two years ago. Although the specific details are not known, it is believed the dam was overwhelmed by past week's heavy rains which have caused flooding in the region.

The flooding has cut off Pasni and other coastal regions, washing out roads and bridges. At least another 50 have died elsewhere as a result.


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