Pakistanis search for survivors after a passenger plane crash in The Margala Hills on the outskirts of Islamabad on July 28, 2010. A Pakistani airliner carrying 150 people crashed in a ball of flames into densely wooded hills above Islamabad during heavy rain and poor visibility, leaving little sign of survivors. UPI/Sajjad Ali Qureshi | License Photo
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 30 (UPI) -- The death toll in three days of flooding in Pakistan topped 400 Friday as rains swelled rivers, inundated villages and triggered landslides, officials said.
The toll was expected to increase because many people were reported missing, Pakistan's English-language newspaper Dawn reported.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for the Khyber-Pakhtunkwa Province, put the death toll at 408 in the flooding that followed two days of record rainfall, The New York Times reported.
The death toll could rise, he warned, as many towns and villages remained inaccessible and communications in the province were hampered by damaged infrastructure.
Much of the province has been cut off from the rest of the country as floodwaters inundated or damaged the majority of roads and railroad tracks.
Part of a recently constructed dam in the province's Charsadda district collapsed, submerging a reported 5,000 homes and stranding up to 400,000 people, officials said.
"A rescue operation using helicopters cannot be conducted due to the bad weather, while there are only 48 rescue boats available," Hussain said Thursday.
"This is the worst ever calamity in our history," he said at a news conference.
"We need help and we need it now," he said.
The highway linking Peshawar to Islamabad was closed after water washed away bridges, the government said.
In Pakistani-administered Kashmir, at least 22 people were confirmed dead as of Thursday, said Sardar Attique, the region's prime minister.
In the Swat Valley, residents slogged through knee-deep water in some streets, witnesses told Dawn.
Investigators said poor weather may have contributed to Wednesday's Airblue plane crash that killed 152 people in Islamabad.
Although northwestern Pakistan bore the brunt of the flooding, rains also hit the southwestern province of Balochistan and crops in Punjab province were ruined, Dawn reported.