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Pakistani Dam Bursts; 20 Dead, 400 Missing

February 11, 2005|From Times Wire Services

QUETTA, Pakistan — Heavy rains caused a large dam to burst Thursday in a remote area of southwestern Pakistan, sweeping villagers into the Arabian Sea and leaving more than 400 people missing, a provincial official said today.

At least 20 people were confirmed dead after the 485-foot-long Shakidor Dam burst near Pasni, on the Arabian Sea coast about 120 miles from the Iranian border, provincial Cabinet minister Sher Jan Baluch said. Many times that number were unaccounted for.

In all, at least 51 people are known dead after several days of heavy rain and snow in the country, but the dam's rupture could drastically raise the toll.

"I myself have seen 15 people being swept away by water," Pasni resident Abdul Razzak said by satellite phone.

Baluch said that almost half of the town had been inundated.

Several villages were flooded near Pasni.

Officials said flash floods also swept away several bridges on the main coastal highway linking Baluchistan to the port city of Karachi.

At least 31 people were killed by heavy rain and snow elsewhere in the country over the last week. Most of those who died were killed in avalanches, flash floods and collapsing roofs. Scores of others have been injured.

Among them were a family of eight, including six children, killed when the roof of their mud house collapsed from rain in the Pishin area, about 25 miles north of Quetta, according to one local official.

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