SHANGLA/GILGIT: Torrential rains and flash floods wreaked havoc in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan on Sunday, killing at least 60 men, women and children and injuring 67 others.
Landslides blocked main highways and link roads in Hazara and Malakand divisions while rivers and streams, becoming strong torrents after heavy rainfall, devastated the infrastructure.
Shangla is the worst-affected area in KP where the district disaster management cell confirmed 19 deaths. It said more than 30 people suffered injuries. Downpour triggered flash floods, washing away roads and bridges in Shangla, Kohistan, Swat and other parts of Malakand. A massive power failure hit major parts of Malakand.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority said in a statement in Peshawar that the calamity had left 36 people dead and 27 injured. Twelve people were killed in Kohistan.
It said tents and other relief goods had been dispatched to the rain-hit areas, particularly in Malakand division.
According to the Met office, Peshawar received 45 millimetres of rain in about 24 hours.
Downpour which continued for the fifth consecutive day in Shangla raised the water level in Khan Khwar, Indus and Kana Khwar rivers.
Torrents wash away infrastructure, landslides block highways in Hazara, Malakand
The district administration said heavy rains and landslides blocked the Karakoram Highway at various points between Shangla and Kohistan as well as Swat-Besham, Shapoor, Puran and Chakesar roads. Floods also washed away several roads and damaged a large number of houses in the district.
A huge boulder hit a house in Ranyal Mahwera area of Shangla, killing a woman and four children. Four people were killed when two vehicles hit by landslides fell into a river in Mata Aghwan area. Search for the bodies was under way on Sunday.
Ten people were killed and several others injured in rain-related incidents in Mansehra and Kohistan districts.
“We are trying to open the Karakoram Highway, but continued rains are the main hurdle. Rescue activities are being carried out in the district,” Fazal-i-Khaliq, Deputy Commissioner of Kohistan, told Dawn.
The torrential rain damaged several houses and roads in the district, paralysing routine life. Almost all parts of the district were hit by power breakdown.
Sune Gull, his wife, a daughter and two sons were killed when lightning struck their house in Kozsheryal Dather area of Pales tehsil in Kohistan. Mohammad Assad and his wife were killed when their house collapsed in Jalkot area. A man was killed when a landslide hit him in Puttan area. Noor Hussain and his wife were killed and their three sons injured when their house collapsed in Paghal area of Kaghan valley.
The Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad road and link roads in Siren, Konsh and Kaghan valleys were blocked by landslides.
Landslides damaged the main water supply line, resulting in shortage of drinking water in various areas of Ajmera, Chapargram, Tamai and Battagram Colony. All link roads in tehsil Allai were blocked by landslides. Rashang, Gangwal, Bateela, Koshgram and Sakargah areas were cut off from the tehsil headquarters.
Widespread rains killed seven people in different areas of Swat district. Two women crossing a stream in Totono Bandai area of tehsil Kabal drowned. A man drowned in Swat river in Dakorak area. Their bodies were recovered and handed over to families.
The district administration issued a high alert and imposed an emergency in areas along the Swat river and other streams where high-level floods were recorded. It advised the people living near rivers and streams to vacate their houses and move to safe places.
Flood water entered buildings along the Swat river in Bypass area and residential areas along Marguzar stream in Faizabad and Amankot areas.
A three-year-old child died and two others suffered injuries when the roof of their house collapsed in Gandgar area of Darora union council in Upper Dir.
Dozens of people going to Chitral were stranded on both sides of Lowari Top which was closed because of heavy snowfall.
An elderly person was killed when the roof of a house collapsed in Bashkhwali area of the district.
Two people were killed and seven others injured as a large number of houses collapsed. Avalanches hit a number of villages across the Chitral valley.
Chitral-Garam-Chashma, Bumburate, Karimabad and Terich roads were closed to traffic on Sunday. However, the local administration kept the Chitral-Booni road open by removing rocks.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, 11 people lost their lives and 12 others suffered injuries.
Four South Korean nationals went missing in areas between Kohistan and Diamer. They were going to Islamabad from Hunza on Saturday morning. Their travel agent, Dok Mani, told Dawn that he had lost contact with them after 5pm.
Landslides also hit Gilgit-Skardu and some link roads. Power supply to several areas was suspended after an 18MW hydel plant was damaged by rain. People in Gilgit and Diamer divisions, including regional headquarters of Gilgit, have been without electricity for 36 hours.
A man, his wife, two daughters and two sons were killed when the roof of their house collapsed in Tangir area of Diamer. A man, his son and two daughters died in a similar incident in Chilas. A man was killed and three others were injured when they were hit by avalanches in different areas of Diamer.
Director General of the Gilgit-Baltistan Disaster Management Authority Waheed Shah told Dawn that rains had devastated six districts of Gilgit and Diamer divisions. He said an emergency had been declared in all government hospitals in GB. A control room has been set up in Gilgit to monitor the situation and relief activities are continuing in the affected areas.
According to sources, flash floods in Sharqila area of Ghizer district, Sakarkoi and Aushikandas areas of Gilgit and some areas of Nagar district damaged dozens of houses, thousands of acres of land, trees and cattle.
Hundreds of people were forced to move to safe areas.
Over 550 houses were damaged in Diamer.
Rain water entered houses in Nagar, Hunza, Ghizer, Diamer and Astore districts, forcing people to vacate their houses.
Hundreds of passengers, including women and children, going to Islamabad were stranded in Diamer because of landslides on the Karakoram Highway. They are staying in hotels.
Authorities fear more disaster and causalities in the rain-hit areas as rainfall is continuing.
However, no damage has been reported in Baltistan division.
The GB metrological department said rain might continue till Monday. GB received 48mm of rain in 24 hours.
GB Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman directed the administration to remain on high alert and monitor the situation in affected areas.
The GB government announced closure of all educational institutions on Monday.
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2016