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Thousands Rescued from Rooftops After 19 Inches of Rain Floods Lahore

August 24, 1996

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) _ Thousands of Pakistanis were rescued from rooftops Saturday after 19 inches of monsoon rains flooded Lahore over a 24-hour period.

Seven people have been reported dead so far, according to the state-run news and government officials, but hospital sources and other media say the toll is grossly off, believed to be at least 30 with dozens more reported missing and feared drowned.

The floods wreaked havoc on the eastern city’s poorest, most of whom live in flimsy corrugated tin, brick and dried mud homes.

Authorities declared a state of emergency Friday in Lahore after the downpours started and called in the army to help evacuate residents in low-lying areas and from rooftops.

Meteorologists said more than 19 inches of rain fell in the past 24 hours, a record for Lahore.

Seven bodies were discovered in a flooded library at the headquarters of Pakistan’s right wing Jamaat-e-Islami group in Lahore, the Voice of Time paper reported.

In a shantytown on the western outskirts, a woman and her three children were buried when their home collapsed, the newspaper reported.

Telephone service and electricity to most of Lahore’s eight million people has been cut.

Elsewhere in Punjab province, where more than 60 percent of Pakistan’s 140 million people live, several villages on the banks of the swollen Chenab and Ravi Rivers were reported submerged. However, there were no reports of casualties.

The local weather service said the monsoon rains that have battered much of Pakistan for several weeks are likely to continue another two weeks.