Flood alert issued for River Sutlej, Indus after India releases water 'without preschedule'

Published August 19, 2019
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued flood alerts after India released water into River Sutlej and Alchi dam. — AFP/File
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued flood alerts after India released water into River Sutlej and Alchi dam. — AFP/File

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued flood alerts after India released water into River Sutlej and Alchi dam.

PDMA Punjab on Monday issued a flood alert due to rising water levels in River Sutlej after India released water into the river. Additionally, the PDMA KP director general on Sunday said that India had opened the outlets of Alchi dam "without preschedule" which, he said could lead to a flooding situation in River Indus.

According to the PDMA Punjab, flood water between the range of 125,000 and 175,000 cusecs is expected to reach Ganda Singh Wala at 11am today.

A dispatch has been issued to the relevant agencies asking them to ensure that all protective measures are taken.

The disaster management authority said that the flood alert had been issued in order to avoid the loss of lives and properties.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (Met) has also issued a flood/weather advisory. According to the department, "very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall has been observed over the upper and lower catchments of Rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi during the last 72 hours".

Flood evacuation and sensitisation efforts underway by the Kasur district administration. — Photo by Muhammad Taimoor
Flood evacuation and sensitisation efforts underway by the Kasur district administration. — Photo by Muhammad Taimoor

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has summoned an emergency meeting to discuss the flood alert for River Sutlej. During the meeting, the situation will be discussed in detail including a focus on steps taken for relief work and the security arrangements made.

According to the CM Office, various officials including the provincial disaster management minister, provincial irrigation minister, a senior member of the Federal Board of Revenue, the inspector general of police, administrative officers and officials from relief organisations will participate in the meeting. Deputy commissioners and commissioners from various areas including Sahiwal, Multan and Bahawalpur will also participate through a video link.

Meanwhile, the PDMA KP director general on Sunday wrote a letter to various provincial deputy commissioners with an alert regarding India opening the water outlet of Alchi dam.

As per the dispatch, the water would take 12 hours to reach Tarbela dam and around 15-18 hours to reach Dera Ismail Khan.

"The damming authorities at Tarbela have been instructed by [National Disaster Management Authority] NDMA to regulate the inflow and water discharge so as to overcome a flooding situation."

He directed the deputy commissioners to restrict boating and swimming activities, adding that the catchment area near the Indus River should be monitored in order to deal with any untoward situation.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained since India stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order on August 5. Following this, Pakistan resolved to downgrade diplomatic relations with New Delhi and suspended all bilateral trade.

Flood alert for New Delhi

According to Indian media reports, a flood alert has been issued for New Delhi.

India Today reported that the Delhi government issued a red-alert for the low-lying areas of the city. The report added that people living in the areas were asked to move to safer places as the water level in Yamuna River was expected to rise and "cross the danger mark" today.

Additionally, NDTV reported casualties in various parts of India in rain related incidents. At least 24 people were killed while nine others were injured in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. The death toll in Karnataka rose to 76 while three individuals were killed in Punjab after the roof of a house collapsed.

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