Govt reviews flood preparations ahead of heavy rainfall

Updated 13 Jul 2019


FFC says urban flooding in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Lahore districts cannot be ruled out. — APP/File
FFC says urban flooding in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Lahore districts cannot be ruled out. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday said it had taken necessary flood management preparatory measures ahead of heavy rainfall predicted by weather pundits for next week.

The countrywide preparatory measures were reviewed at a coordination meeting of the Federal Flood Commission (FFC) that was presided over by Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda and attended by representatives of the federal and provincial agencies relating to flood management.

The meeting was told that the federal government had last year approved 13 flood protection schemes for all the four provinces and they had mostly been completed. It was agreed that all relevant authorities, including the provincial irrigation departments, would remove all the encroachments from the river beds and flood plains to manage possible floods during the current monsoon season.

The federal government also suggested to the provincial governments to expedite the process of legislation to ensure that no future encroachments were possible on the river beds and flood plains.

At the federal level, it was reported that the Pakistan Met Department had made its flood forecasting division in Lahore functional, which was disseminating daily weather forecasts and flood situation to all federal, provincial and district level stakeholders, besides posting them on its website regularly.

FFC says urban flooding in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Lahore districts cannot be ruled out

To facilitate provision of river discharges, reservoirs data and flood-related information to higher government offices, a dedicated flood communication cell had also been made functional in the federal flood commission, it was reported. The meteorological department told the meeting that “normal to above normal rains” were expected in the northern half of the country during this monsoon.

The FFC reported that all rivers were currently flowing normal except for Indus River, which continued to flow in steady low flood at Chashma and River Kabul in medium flood in Warsak-Nowshera reach.

The combined reservoir live storage was recorded at 3.638 million acre feet on Friday, which is 26.59 per cent of the maximum combined live storage capacity. Thursday’s deep trough of westerly wave over northwestern parts of Afghanistan lied over northeastern Afghanistan and adjoining areas on Friday and moderate moist currents from Arabian Sea were penetrating into upper parts of Pakistan up to 5,000 feet and are likely to intensify.

Seasonal low on Friday lied over northwestern Balochistan and its trough is extending northwards, which is likely to accentuate during the next 24 hours that could lead to moderate-to-heavy thunderstorm and rain with one or two very heavy falls over the upper catchments of Indus River, including Rawalpindi Division, besides over Malakand, Hazara, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu and D.I. Khan divisions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Scattered thunderstorm and rain with isolated heavy falls are also expected over the upper catchments of rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej, including Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Lahore and Sargodha divisions of Punjab, during the same period.

During the July 13-19 period, “rainfall of moderate-to-heavy intensity with one or two very heavy falls are expected over the upper catchments of all major rivers, including Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Faisalabad and Sargodha divisions in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, besides moderate rainfall, including one or two heavy falls over D.G. Khan division along with northeast Balochistan.

As a result of above situation, sharp peaks of high flood are expected upstream Mangla and low-to-medium flood in nullahs (tributaries) of rivers Ravi (Hasri, Bein, Basanter, Ujh, Jhajri, Kather and Deg) and Chenab (Palku, Aik and Bhimber) along with hill torrents of D.G. Khan division.

Urban flooding in Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Lahore districts could not be ruled out, the FFC said, asking the authorities concerned to remain alert, critically watch the weather situation and take all necessary precautionary measures to avoid loss of precious human lives and damages to public and private properties.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2019