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Cloudburst: At Least 24 Feared Dead, Several Missing After Flash Floods Hit Neelum Valley

At least 24 people are feared dead and several others missing after heavy rains and flash floods caused by cloudburst in Neelum valley Azad Kashmir on Monday, media reported.

Officials have warned the death toll could increase as rescuers struggled to reach affected areas amid badly damaged communication system.

It was a cloudburst that led to flash floods and caused destruction in the Lesswa area, Saeed-ur-Rehman, director operations of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), was quoted as saying.

The people reported missing after the flash floods included members a Tableeghi Jamaat party – five from Faisalabad, four from Lahore and one from Sheikhupura. The others are stated to be locals.

Around 150 houses, several shops and two mosques were damaged in the area. There are reports that the vehicles of several tourists have also been swept away.

Officials also confirmed the deaths of five people, including a little girl, after a touring jeep fell into River Neelum. One person survived the accident and was admitted to hospital in critical condition.

Amid the climate change induced by global warming, we are hearing about extreme weather events and terms like cloudburst. But what a cloudburst is!

According to World Atlas, “A cloudburst is a localised weather phenomenon characterised by extreme amounts of precipitation over a short period of time within a small geographical area. It is sometimes accompanied by hail and thunderstorms which are capable of creating disastrous flood conditions.”

Meteorologists state that rainfall from cloudbursts is usually showered with a fall rate greater than or equal to 4.9 inches per hour.

Cloudbursts generally occur in mountainous regions, deserts, and interior regions of continental landmasses. They are highly unpredictable by nature and happen very abruptly.

Nearly all recorded cloudburst are experienced in the Indian subcontinent where monsoon clouds drift from the Arabian Sea onto the Himalayas.

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