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Hundreds Dead, Missing as Pakistan Dam Bursts

Officials in Pakistan say more than 50 people died and hundreds are missing after heavy rains caused a large dam to burst, inundating several villages in a remote southwestern coastal region. The heaviest rain and snow in 16 years have also killed dozens of others across the country in the past week.

Officials in the southwestern province of Baluchistan say the dam burst near the coastal town of Pasni, sweeping villagers into the Arabian Sea. They say as many as 400 people are missing.

A spokesman for the provincial government, Siddique Akbar, says tens of thousands of people have been affected to one extent or another, and at least five villages were totally submerged by floodwaters from the dam.

"Roughly speaking, 50,000 to 60,000 people are badly affected and the worst affected are those villages, which were directly hit by these heavy rains as well as the flood, caused by the breaking of the dam," Mr. Akbar said.

Mr. Akbar says Pakistani troops are helping provincial authorities in the rescue operations.

"The relief measures are in progress," he said. "Army people and coast guards have already reached the area and have started relief operations. Helicopters have also been put in service."

The authorities have confirmed the weather related deaths of at least another 31 people across the country.

Northern parts of Pakistan have been cut off, with roads buried under several feet of snow. Weather officials say the rains and snowfall will continue well into Saturday throughout most of the country.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Afghanistan, reports say the heaviest snowfall in years has left at least 60 people dead throughout the country. The weather is also preventing the recovery of bodies from an Afghan airliner, which crashed into a mountain during a snowstorm last week. All 104 people on board were killed.