ISLAMABAD: Relief and rescue efforts are under way in various parts of Pakistan on Tuesday as flash floods triggered by torrential rain inundated large swathes in the country. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has also instructed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to reinforce relief and rescue efforts.
Roads, bridges and water schemes were washed away in Chitral region as heavy rains triggered flash floods washed away a number of villages. More than a hundred villages have been affected by floods in various districts of Punjab whereas 200 villages along the River Indus have been evacuated.
According to a report published on Radio Pakistan, around 131 villages in Layyah, Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh districts have been flooded by water from the Indus river.
People belonging to the affected villages in the above-mentioned areas have already been evacuated and shifted to safer locations by the respective local administrations.
According to a spokesman of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab, no loss of life has been reported from these areas so far.
Punjab Home Minister and Chairman of Cabinet Committee for Flood, Shujah Khanzada said that there is no danger of floods in Punjab and all district administrations have taken necessary precautions.
The district administration in Muzaffargarh issued a ‘red alert’ warning on Monday as a high flood of around 500,000 cusecs is reportedly expected to pass through the Taunsa Barrage on Tuesday evening.
The water is expected to create a medium to high flood situation during the next 72 hours in the Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah and Rajanpur districts.
Punjab's Director General Provincial Disaster Management Authority Jawad Akram said relief camps have been set up in affected areas and floods are constantly being monitored.
Also read: River Indus in medium flood
So far, 32 relief camps have been set up for victims in Rajanpur. DCO Rajanpur Zahoor Hussain Gujar said the local administration was extending help to the affectees in every possible manner.
Currently, the Indus river has been reported to be in medium flood at Kalabagh, Tarbela, Attock, Taunsa and Chashma, whereas Guddu and Sukkur barrages are in low flood.
Take a look: Most of Chitral paralysed by flash floods
PM Nawaz instructs authorities to reinforce relief and rescue efforts
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief over the loss of property due to floods that hit Chitral. The premier was expected to visit the flood-affected areas but was unable to do so owing to weather conditions in Lahore, according to a report on the Radio Pakistan website.
The prime minister has instructed NDMA, which has already started work in the area, to reinforce relief and expedite rescue efforts in coordination with PDMA and other concerned departments.
He also directed the National Highway Authority (NHA) to keep N-45 open so that Chitral remains linked with the national road network.
Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif also acknowledged the reports of villages that have been flooded in Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur and Layyah and directed Rescue 1122 and the district administrations to initiate relief activities and camps in the affected villages.
He also directed for the prompt provision and availability of food rations, water and medicines in relief camps.
Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch also directed the Zhob district administration to provide maximum relief to those affected by rains in the area. He further directed the district administration to stay alert in order to manage any emergencies in Zhob.
Imran Khan directs KP govt to take precautionary measures
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to take precautionary measures in order to effectively deal with the flood situation.
He said the provincial government should develop plans of action in order to deal with the expected floods in Chitral and other districts of KP. He added that preparations must be made in advance in order to evacuate area residents to safer locations.
Khan said precautionary measures must be taken to ensure timely distribution of aid to the affectees.
Referring to the lack of water reservoirs, Khan said every year locals were left at the mercy of floods.
The PTI chairman hit out at the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League —Nawaz (PML- N) governments at the centre for "their negligence", saying that had led the nation into a situation where it had to deal with yearly floods and a constant power crisis.
He said precautions to deal with floods must be taken in Punjab and Sindh as well.
Pakistan has suffered from monsoon floods for the last few years and has been criticised for not doing enough to mitigate against the dangers posed by seasonal rains washing away homes and farmland.
In 2010, the worst floods in the country's history killed almost 1,800 people and affected 21 million.