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Pakistan Floods Kill at Least 75

March 4, 1998

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) _ Flash floods swept away hundreds of mud homes in southwestern Pakistan, killing as many as 75 people and leaving another 250 missing, officials said today.

``The damage is massive,″ said Noor Ahmed Shah, a government official in Baluchistan Province. ``We’re trying to get help to the area but it’s still raining and nothing has been able to land.″

A Pakistan Air Force C-130 aircraft and several helicopters tried to land in the hardest hit area, near Turbat, 360 miles south of the Baluchistan capital of Quetta, but were forced to return, said Shah.

The Pakistani relief agency Edhi Welfare was trying to send two helicopters with relief supplies to the area.

Much of the damage appeared to be to homes built along the banks of a usually dry riverbed. Relentless rains that began Sunday turned the riverbed into a swollen torrent that roared over hundreds of homes, most of them made of mud and straw, said Shah.

He said it was difficult to know the extent of the damage because phone lines were knocked out and roads were washed away. But once communications are established, he said the death toll was likely to rise.

Residents of Turbat said the rains had flooded dozens of homes, shops and at least two hospitals. Equipment was damaged and patients had to be moved to higher, drier ground.

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