The 150m long dam, built in 2003 for irrigation purposes, ruptured late on Thursday due to pressure from weeks of heavy rain and snow in the usually parched region.

According to the BBC News website, 22 people died in the wake of the dam’s breach and a further 20 lost their lives in the resulting mudslides and house collapses. Many more have been injured.

The rainy spell began on 3 February and weather officials have described it as a record for Pakistan. In addition to the dam collapse, around 30,000 people in Pasni have been affected by flood waters.

Troops have been called in for assistance, with more than 1200 villagers already rescued from the waters.