QUETTA / LAHORE: Heavy rain, which has been lashing Quetta and other parts of Balochistan for the past several days, paralysed life in the province on Thursday.
The link between several district headquarters and outlying areas stands severed because heavy flood in seasonal nullahs damaged the road network.
A large number of mud houses were damaged or collapsed and roads washed away in several parts of Balochistan.
The Met Office has forecast more rains in most areas, including coastal areas of Balochistan, on Friday.
More rain forecast in most areas of the province on Friday
It said isolated, heavy and very heavy falls were expected in Quetta, Zhob, Kalat, Makran, Sibi and Nasirabad divisions.
It reported 26mm of rain in Quetta (Samungli), 20mm in Quetta (Sheikhmanda), 19mm in Sibi, 18mm in Dalbandin, 15mm in Jacobabad, 10mm in Barkhan, 4mm in Kalat, 3mm in Panjgur, 2mm in Zhob and 1mm in Pasni by 5pm on Thursday.
Fishermen in Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara, Jiwani and other coastal towns have been advised against fishing in the deep sea.
The provincial authorities have issued a high alert in view of heavy rains and flood-like situation in seasonal rivers and nullahs.
All rivers were carrying heavy floodwater as rains were reported in catchments areas. No casualty was reported from any area of the province, but over 12 people were injured in rain-related incidents. Eight people suffered injuries due to lightning in Jalaluddin, a village close to the Afghan border.
Hill torrents hit parts of Quetta and most of its roads have turned into virtual streams, causing difficulties for pedestrians.
Several roads were washed away in Chaman, Toba Achakzai, Toba Kakari, Khuzdar, Nasirabad, Jaffarabad, Mastung, Kalat and Jhal Magsi districts.
Heavy rains with thunderstorm were also reported in Zhob, Loralai, Musa Khel, Harnai, Dukki, Pishin, Khanozai, Sibi, Bolan, Awaran and Dera Bugti.
A flash flood swept into the Chaman grid station, suspending power supply to the town and other neighbouring areas.
The provincial government has put all divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners on high alert to tackle any emergency situation.
Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattah has ordered the director general of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, all commissioners and deputy commissions to immediately set up control rooms and disseminate focal points to the general public through media and strengthen coordination among bordering districts by sharing information about ensuing flash floods.
He also directed the authorities concerned to inform people in flash flood prone areas about the situation and immediately stock up on relief goods, including food and tents.
In Sindh, most areas of Jacobabad district received a heavy spell of rain, while upper parts of the province remained cloudy throughout the day on Thursday. Sukkur and its surrounding areas received a short spell of drizzle. Dadu city and its outskirts received light showers.
The Met office had forecast heavy rains in upper, central and southern Sindh on Thursday night and Friday.
System moving to KP
The active weather system, giving rains over Balochistan, started moving towards Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Thursday and, the Pakistan Meteorological Department warned that it was very likely to intensify by Friday evening, giving widespread downpours in the province for two days.
Under the influence of this strong weather system, widespread rains-thundershowers are expected over KP on Friday and Saturday, the department said in its red alert.
It said scattered heavy, at times very heavy, downpours expected over upper parts of the province, including Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Mardan and Kohat divisions, during Friday evening to Saturday might trigger flash floods in vulnerable areas.
The weather system is likely to persist till Monday and will also cause widespread rainfall over upper and north-eastern Punjab, including Lahore on Friday and Saturday.
The department said while crossing Balochistan, the system will generate widespread rain-thundershowers, accompanied by strong gusty winds, in the province in the next 24 hours.
Heavy downpours may generate flash flooding in vulnerable areas of Balochistan on Friday, and urban-flash flooding in Fata, Dera Ghazi Khan, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi divisions and Kashmir on Friday evening and Saturday.
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2016