PESHAWAR, Pakistan, April 7 (UPI) -- The discovery of 23 bodies buried under 130 feet of mud after a landslide brought the death toll in Pakistan's recent floods to 92.
The country's National Disaster Management Authority announced the finding of nearly 1,000 collapsed houses in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the area hardest hit by a week of pre-monsoon rain. More than 70 retail stores in the provincial capital of Peshawar were washed away, with many more damaged.
The rains also ruined crops and washed away roads throughout the province.
On Thursday, Pervez Khattak, Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa's Chief Minister, announced the provincial government is preparing a a plan to permanently solve the province's flooding problem. He noted that encroachment, involving the unregulated cutting of forests near riverbanks, is a contributing cause of regular damage and loss of lives. A 2010 survey revealed the same problem, but no steps were taken to alleviate the problem.
He added, though, that his government has a system for emergency relief and rehabilitation in place, and will quickly begin relief operations and pay compensation to flood victims.
The rain began Saturday and inundated sections of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir provinces. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Shangla and Kohistan districts were the hardest hit.There were reports that landslides also damaged the Karakorum Highway a vital land link between Pakistan and China.
All schools in the affected areas were closed, and the NDMA said it has distributed tents, blankets and more than 35 tons of rations to survivors.
Pakistan's Meteorological Department said the worst of the rainfall is over, but another round of rain is anticipated next week.