August 18, 2006

Pakistani flood toll at least 15

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistan's biggest city declared a
public holiday on Friday as it cleaned up from heavy flooding
that killed at least 15 people and more rain was expected,
officials said.

Banks and the stock market in Karachi would remain open
despite the holiday declared by the provincial government.

Most of the 15 people killed in the floods on Thursday were
electrocuted while some were killed in traffic accidents during
heavy downpours, an emergency service official said.

"I can confirm 15 casualties in the last 24 hours but the
number could be higher as many cases go unreported," said
Rizwan Edhi, a senior official of the Edhi Trust, which runs
the country's largest ambulance service.

Thunder storms and heavy rain hit across Sindh province but
a provincial government spokesman said there were no reports of
damage to crops.

"The flood situation is also under control so far," the
spokesman said.

Weather officials said more rain was expected in Karachi
and across southern Sindh province by Friday evening.