600 tourists stranded in flood-hit areas rescued in Pakistan


The Pakistani military said on Wednesday it had rescued about 600 tourists, including Chinese and Japanese nationals, who had been stranded in flood-hit areas of the country’s northwest.

The military said it was using 40 helicopters and 450 boats in a massive rescue operation that has been concentrated in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which is facing the worst floods in 80 years.

Ninety-five Chinese and 12 Japanese were rescued from Kalam, along with about 600 tourists, the military said.

Kalam is a resort in Swat which recently reopened to travellers after a major military operation launched last year designed to purge the scenic valley of Pakistani Taliban.

The Japanese embassy confirmed that visitors had been stranded due to communication problems triggered by floods in the mountains.

“All have been rescued. No Japanese tourists are left there now,” the embassy’s press officer, Sajid Abbasi, said.

The Japanese travellers had gone to Kohistan and other hilly areas, he said.

No comments were immediately available from the Chinese embassy.

The July 29 floods have caused widespread destruction in the northwest killing hundreds of people and uprooting an estimated 3.5 million others.

So far more than 54,000 stranded people have been rescued from flood-hit areas and moved to the safer places, the military said.