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Rains paralyse life in Punjab cities

Updated August 15, 2013
— File photo
— File photo

LAHORE: Devastating rains in different cities of Punjab and other parts of the country killed a number of people and caused river and urban flooding on Wednesday.

Swelling of river tributaries in the Gujranwala-Sialkot region damaged property and crops over a vast area of land. More loss of life and property is feared.

The authorities started making arrangements for evacuation of people after the flood warning centre forecast a “very high flood” in the river Chenab at Marala — 400,000 to 500,000 cusecs — sometime on Thursday.

In Lahore, rain was persistent and heavy, turning roads and streets into virtual rivulets. Low-lying areas were submerged in deep rainwater, disrupting life in the entire city, and plans for the Independence Day celebrations.

The Met office recorded 171mm of rain at its Jail Road observatory and 133mm at the airport from 8am to 5pm. This was in addition to around 80mm of rain on Tuesday night.

Sialkot Cantt received 172mm, Sialkot Airport 135, Saidu Sharif 131, Okara 126, Garhi Dupatta 110, Gujranwala 105, D. G. Khan 93, Islamabad Zero Point 88, Sahiwal 84, Murree 82, Islamabad Airport 76, Faisalabad 70, Pattan 51, Barkhan 50, Kakul 49, Muzaffarabad 44, Gilgit 39, Balakot 35, Drosh 34, Bahawalpur city 31 and Bhakkar 23.

Heavy rains from Lahore to Islamabad, as well as in Faisalabad region, badly affected rail and road operations. There were power supply disruptions in major cities.

The torrential rain was generated by a combination of a strong westerly wave over northern areas of the country and a monsoon low over India’s Uttar Pradesh state.

The focus of the strong monsoon system was from Lahore to Islamabad, especially the upper and lower catchments of river Chenab in Sialkot region and Jammu. The catchments of Jhelum river did not receive as much rain as forecast by the Met office.

It feared spill-over and breaching at some points, asking authorities concerned to remain on high alert. The river is going to be in very high flood after eight years. The highest peak at Marala (870,000 cusecs) which was recorded on Aug 26, 1957, had caused large-scale devastation in the region.

The river Chenab at Khanki and Qadirabad is also likely to be in ‘high’ to ‘very high flood’.Exceptionally high flood is feared in the river Jhelum at Mangla (up stream).Very high flood level is feared in the Indus at Chashma and high flood at Kalabagh and Taunsa. There is a forecast of high flood also in the Kabul river.

The tributaries of the river Chenab (Bhimber, Bhundar, Halsi, Daulti, Aik and Palku) and of the Ravi (Deg, Bhed, Hasri, Jhajri, Bassantar, Bein, Ujh, Tarnah) will remain in high to very high flood during next two days.

Severe flash flooding is expected in the tributaries and hill torrents of eastern Balochistan and D. G. Khan division during next three days.

The low pressure later moved over to north-western Rajasthan and adjoining Bahawalpur division. And the Met office said this would, therefore, bring rains, very heavy at times, over central and southern parts the country in next 24 hours.

“The location of the monsoon low has now changed. Now it will affect southern Punjab (D. G. Khan, Bahawalpur, Multan and Sahiwal divisions), eastern Balochistan (Kalat, Sibi, Zhob and Naseerabad divisions) and upper Sindh (Sukkur and Larkana divisions) on Thursday and Friday,” according to FFD chief Riaz Khan.

But, he said, there were ample chances of some more heavy to very heavy rains in Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi districts.

DOWNPOUR IN LAHORE: Two people were killed in different parts of Lahore in rain-related incidents. Several others were injured after roofs of their houses collapsed.

In Sialkot, Saleema Bibi (43) was killed while her three children, Iqra (12), Arsalan (10) and Mehwish (7), were seriously injured when the roof of their house collapsed in village Talwandi Inayat Khan, Pasrur.

In Gujranwala, two people were killed and 12 others injured when roofs of their houses caved in.

The deceased was identified as Naseem Bibi of Mandiala Warraich. Her husband Khushi Mohammad and four children were injured.

Noor Mohammad of village Trigari was killed as the roof of his house caved in.

A woman of Faisalabad’s Regal Road, Razia, and her two children Asim and Maryam, were killed after roof of their house collapsed. Seven other people sustained multiple injuries in different parts of the city.

Ashiq of Sher-i-Rabbani town, Okara, and his son Asghar were injured after roof of their house collapsed.

Nullah Dek’s water entered village Chahoor in Pasrur, creating panic among residents.

Sialkot-Chawinda-Pasrur and Pasrur-Narowal roads were closed for traffic after they were submerged under five to six feet floodwater. Villages around the roads were cut off from the rest of Sialkot.

Pasrur’s 27 villages were submerged under four to five feet floodwater that damaged crops over vast tracts of land.

Around 20 villages of Zafarwal and Qila Ahmedabad were submerged under water spilled out of the flooded Nullah Dek.