QUETTA: Winter is not quite done with Balochistan as on Saturday a deadly weather system brought with it heavy rains and snowfall in the province, leaving six people dead and over a dozen injured, officials said.
Several parts of the province were inundated with floodwaters and the paramilitary personnel were called in to evacuate people to safer areas.
In Guldar Bagh, Chaman, two children of a family were killed and their parents injured when the roof their house caved in because of heavy rainfall.
Heavy downpour in Koshan, Khuzdar, led to the collapse of a house killing two children and injuring three.
A Frontier Corps man died in Bolan when the roof of his room collapsed because of torrential rain. A small child was found dead who apparently fell into floodwaters in Mastung. In Uthal, Lasbela, six persons of a family were injured because of the caving in of their house.
Emergency declared in Qila Abdullah; army help sought; floods in Kech
Two persons were swept away in floodwaters and were feared to be dead in Dalbandin and Pishin.
Emergency was declared in the flooded district of Qila Abdullah by the provincial government and the army’s help was sought to aid the local administration in rescue and relief efforts. “An alert has been issued due to the alarming flood situation,” said a provincial government official.
As many as 16 people were rescued in Kech by the local administration and FC personnel who were stranded in floodwaters when the Nihing and Kech rivers swelled because of rain. “The stranded people included women and children who were rescued by FC’s helicopters,” said a local administration official.
Floodwaters submerged Quetta-Sibi highway and there were reports of flash floods reaching Quetta-Karachi National Highway.
Quetta, Ziarat, Harboi, Kan Mehtarzai, Muslim Bagh, Khanozai and Khojak Pass were blanketed in snow. The Ziarat Valley recorded four feet of snow and Harboi in Kalat district reported two feet of snow.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and Provincial Disaster Management Authority Minister (PDMA) Ziaullah Langove were said to be monitoring the situation and getting updates from PDMA on relief and rescue operation in the flood-affected areas.
Power outages, stranded travellers
Quetta and other areas experienced power outages since Friday evening when it started raining heavily. Till the filing of this report, the power supply had not been restored.
“Because of continuous rain and snowfall, Qesco [Quetta Electric Supply Company] is finding it difficult to restore the power,” said a senior Qesco official.
CM Alyani took notice of the power outages in his province and was said to have spoken to Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan about the situation.
Hundreds of travellers from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces were stranded as roads were closed and bus, coach and rail services were cancelled.
“Heavy machinery such as bulldozers have been sent to remove snow from the road linking the Ziarat Valley to Sanjavi, Duki and Harnai areas,” said Ziarat Commissioner Abdul Qadir Parkani. “However it is a tough situation as continuous snowfall is hampering the effort,” he added.
Zhob Commissioner Bashir Khan Bazai cautioned people about travelling to certain areas. “People should avoid going towards Kan-Mehtarzai and Muslim Bagh as we are finding it difficult to remove snow from roads leading to those areas.” According to the Met Office, a strong rain-bearing system may continue till Sunday.
Behram Baloch in Gwadar also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2019