Flooding Devastates Pakistan's Northwestern Region as presented by: Sacramento Bee

More than 400 people have died and thousands of others were made homeless as some of the worst floods in Pakistan's history hit this northwestern region, provincial officials said. Hundreds of thousands of people were believed to be unable to evacuate to safer ground while the authorities struggled to reach the worst-affected areas, officials said. The information minister for the Khyber-Pakhtunkwa province, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, put the death toll at 408 in the flooding that followed two days of record rainfall. The region used to be known as the North-West Frontier Province. Hussain warned that the death toll could rise because many towns and villages remained inaccessible, and telecommunication infrastructure had been damaged. Much of the province has been cut off from the rest of the country. Floodwaters have either inundated or damaged all roads and railroad tracks. "This is the worst ever calamity in our history," Hussain said at a news conference. "Whatever that had survived terrorist bombings have been washed away by the floods." Pakistani villagers try to catch trees floating in the flooded Nelum river in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir. Pakistani local residents use a rope to flee from rising waters in a flood-hit area of Nowshera.

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