Floods Strand Thousands of Pakistanis on Rooftops, in Trees

Thousands of people were stranded on rooftops and tree branches Wednesday as cyclone-spawned floods surged through towns and villages of Pakistan's coastline, officials said.

Off the coast in the storm-tossed Arabian Sea, navy warships and helicopters searched for missing vessels, having rescued about 125 crewmen from floundering craft, said navy and Maritime Security Agency spokesmen.

Helicopters and speed boats were also in demand to help hundreds of people on five isolated islands lying some 95 miles southeast of Karachi, said Sami Memon, president of the Fisherfolk Forum, a fishermen's welfare body.

In Karachi, the country's largest city, five people were electrocuted Tuesday by falling electricity lines that had earlier been battered by rains and thunderstorms, according to official reports.

Cyclone Yemyin struck the coastline of Baluchistan province Tuesday, killing at least 12 people, including four children, said Raziq Bugti, spokesman for the provincial government. Others were believed lost at sea, but no estimates were available.

In the Baluchistan city of Turbat and surrounding villages, as many as 10,000 people were driven from their homes by rising waters from the Kech River and a nearby dam, said Mayor Abdul Rauf Riand.

Located to the east on the same Arabian Sea coastline, Karachi suffered torrential rains and thunderstorms, which killed at least 228 people Saturday. City authorities continued to grapple with electricity shortages caused by power lines that were snapped by falling trees, pylons and billboards.

Relief efforts have been hampered with roads and telephone lines severed in nine districts of the province.