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Heavy rain forecast: 12 districts put on alert

Updated August 12, 2013

PESHAWAR, Aug 11: Expecting widespread rains in three divisions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has issued warning to the administration of 12 districts to stay alert and make arrangements for coping with any emergency situation.

Officials said that Pakistan Meteorological Department had predicted heavy rains in Peshawar, Hazara and Kohat divisions in the next three days following which water level could increase in major rivers, including Indus and Kabul, and their tributaries.

They said that following the weather forecast the PDMA had directed the administration of 12 districts to take all precautionary measures to avoid any loss of life and damage to the public and private properties in their respective districts.

“Alert has been issued to the deputy commissioners and district disaster management authorities concerned,” said a PDMA official, adding that the situation in Malakand was likely to remain normal.

According to a notification on Saturday, the PDMA directed deputy commissioners of Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Kohat, Hangu, Karak, Mansehra, Kohistan, Haripur, Abbottabad, Battagram and Torghar districts to make preparations for safety of citizens. Heavy rainfall is expected during Monday to Wednesday.

Deputy commissioner, Peshawar, Zaheerul Islam told Dawn on Sunday that all stakeholders, including 11th Corps, Rescue 1122 and district disaster management officers, had been informed and necessary arrangements made in this regard.

He said that people living near the rivers’ banks had been cautioned to move to safer places to avert any loss of life.

He said that relief agencies and other organisations had mobilised their assets and affected population would be assisted in case of emergency. Announcements were made in flood-prone localities of Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda districts and residents had shifted to other localities.

At least 20 people were killed and several others wounded in flash floods early this month, while dozens of houses had been completely or partially damaged in different districts of the province and adjacent tribal area.

Provincial hydrology division said that the Kabul River and all its tributaries were flowing in normal condition on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the PDMA said that flash flood caused partial damage to 10 houses in Talhatta area of Balakot on Sunday, but no loss of life was reported. It said that efforts were underway to divert flow of the flash flood and residents had been evacuated.

Kalpani Nullah in Mardan was also in high flood on Sunday due to heavy rains in upper area. The nullah passes through congested localities of Mardan city and the district administration has informed the people to remain alert.

Continuous rains brought life to a standstill in Mardan where shopkeepers suffered a great deal due to standing floodwater in markets and bazaars in Rustam, Shahbaz Garhi, Katlang etc.

“Floodwater washed away everything on the bank of watercourse. People remained cut off for several hours as the water inundated the area,” said Zahirzada who sells juices in Rustam bazaar.

He said that on the one hand the shopkeepers and vendors suffered losses, on the other the monsoon rains spoiled the Eid festival in villages.

Many people who live near watercourses in Mardan have temporarily moved to houses of their relatives.

He observed that the government had been focusing on Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda, while those at the receiving end in rural areas were yet to get the authorities’ attention.