QUETTA/LAHORE: Six more people were killed following heavy rains for the second consecutive day in Balochistan and Punjab, according to government officials.
The four persons who died in Balochistan on Tuesday in weather-related incidents happened to be children. Two of them lived in Bhaag where the roof of their mud house collapsed on them, taking their lives and injuring their parents. The other two children were from Qila Abdullah district who also passed away because the roof of their mud house buckled under the strain of the torrential downpour.
Many towns and villages were cut off from Quetta and other district headquarters in Balochistan as link roads were washed away. The death toll in the province has reached 14 in two days and 25 people have been injured.
The PDMA declared a state of emergency and Section 144 (banning of assembly of four or more people) was imposed in Balochistan to avoid losses of human lives at picnic spots.
“We have declared emergency in all divisional headquarters following predicted downpours across the province,” said PDMA director general Imran Zarkoon.
The situation is so dire that according to reports, many villages in Sibi and Duki have disappeared after flash floods hit the area and agricultural farms have been swept away.
Two die in Punjab
Three people who were injured in Shadbagh, Lahore, after the wall of a wedding hall fell on them on Monday night, died on Tuesday at a local hospital.
In Toba Tek Singh, a villager died and his two female relatives injured when the roof of a roadside tea stall fell on them on Tuesday near the River Ravi’s Head Sidhnai bridge located on Faisalabad-Multan road in Pir Mahal.
As many as 11 people, including women and children, were seriously injured as the roof of a house collapsed on them in Bahawalpur where crops over vast areas of land were damaged, according to Dawn correspondent.
Farmers in different parts of central and southern Punjab complained of damage to their wheat crop. Hailstorms particularly affected wheat crop in Khanewal, Larki, Shujaabad Basti Malook and Hasilpur. Farmers in Faisalabad and Jhang areas also complained of damage to their wheat crop because of hail and windstorms.
Agriculture Director Extension Dr Anjum Buttar said the unusual weather had affected wheat crop but the damage was not alarming. “We have started assessing condition of the wheat crop which has been affected due to hailstorms in limited areas like in Jhang, Faisalabad and Multan regions,” he said.
He said one could not say that the levelled crop had been totally damaged. “The grain could remain safe even if the crop is levelled. The exact situation would be known after a few days,” he said. Dr Anjum advised farmers to protect their crop while harvesting it.
Reports were pouring in from different parts of the country indicated heavy rains that were coupled with severe wind and hail storms in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the National Disaster Management Authority the past three-day spell of freak rains has claimed 39 lives across the country, injuring 135 people and damaging 80 houses.
Meanwhile, the Met department has forecast more rain in most parts of the country for Tuesday night and Wednesday. Hailstorm is also expected at few places during the period. Isolated heavy falls are expected in Malakand, Hazara divisions and Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2019