Woman Dies and Over 100 Others Bitten by Venomous Snakes in Pakistan Floods

A woman has died after being bitten by a venomous snake in Pakistan, joining over 100 others who have suffered snake bites as disastrous floods continue to rage across the country.

Severe flash flooding caused by an unprecedented monsoon season has wreaked havoc across Pakistan since June. Sherry Rehman, the country's climate change minister, said on Monday that around a third of the country is underwater and 33 million people have been affected.

The woman was bitten at her home in the Nowshera district of the northwestern province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She died after floods prevented her from receiving timely medical attention, UrduPoint reported.

It is not clear what species of snake attacked the woman; Pakistan is home to a number of venomous snakes including vipers, cobras and kraits. Venomous snake bites are a medical emergency and cannot be treated without antivenom. Survival depends on how quickly the victim can receive treatment.

Pakistan floods
In this combination image, displaced people wade through a flooded area in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan on August 27, 2022, and a stock photo shows a King Cobra. Since June, nearly 900 people have died by severe monsoon rains and floods in Pakistan, while thousands have been displaced and millions more affected. iStock / Getty Images

As the floods continue to devastate Pakistan, there have been 134 cases of snake bites reported in the country and a lack of antivenom available amid the floods has caused deaths and disabilities, the outlet reported. Snake venom can damage tissue leading to amputations.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Health Department issued a warning to locals about displaced wildlife among the floods, including snakes and insects. It is possible the floods may have made the snakes more agitated, meaning they are biting more people than usual.

The venomous snakes of Pakistan can be found across the country in a multitude of habitats, including deserts and forests. Floods often cause native wildlife to become displaced, meaning they will turn up in unexpected places.

The snakes that cause the most bites in Pakistan are the common krait, the cobra, the Russell's viper and the Saw-scaled viper. All of these snakes possess a potent venom that can cause death in just a few minutes, depending on the severity of the bite.

Areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular have been badly affected by the flooding.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday and said he had "never seen such devastation" in his life. He also vowed not to disappoint those affected by the floods.

Since June, around 1 million homes have been destroyed or damaged in the flooding that experts said has been caused by climate change. Additionally, 700,000 animals used for livestock have also been displaced and lost.

Newsweek reached out to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's health department for comment.