Flood’s estimated toll in Pakistan: 1,500 dead, 4 million affected

Chakdara, Pakistan — Floodwaters subsided Thursday in northern Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where a fierce sun baked a thick carpet of mud into a brittle crust, as officials expanded their estimate of the number of people affected.

The monsoon rains that had transformed the usually placid Kabul River into a raging torrent that swept away houses, restaurants and hotels have stopped.

But the estimated toll on people will leave lasting repercussions — 1,500 dead and more than 4 million affected.

In some areas, towns that were inundated earlier this week were teeming with traffic and pedestrians on Thursday as evacuees returned to assess the damage. Many survivors expressed fury with the government for what they considered to be its slow response. They also were angry with President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in Britain during the worst of the floods.

Fifty-thousand Pakistan army troops who fought the Taliban last year have been deployed to help in the fight with nature.

Army engineers are in demand to help replace the 91 bridges that have been swept away and to help repair the many others that were damaged.

Parts of the Swat Valley remain inaccessible by road; helicopters provide the only way in or out for people, food, clean water or medicine. Read more: CNN

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