QUETTA/DADU: More torrential rains exacerbated the flood situation in 15 districts of Balochistan on Sunday as four more people were swept away while road link could not be restored between Quetta and other areas of the country after some bridges were damaged at the national highways.
In Kachho area of Dadu district in Sindh, Army teams continued rescue operations as thousands of people have been marooned by the flood triggered by breaches in Nai Gaj Dam dykes.
In Balochistan, over 300 villages have been badly affected in Nasirabad, Sibi, Bolan and Jhal Magsi districts where thousands of people have been stranded. Hundreds of mud houses have been washed away by the hill torrents while several people have gone missing. Hundreds of cattle have also been swept away by the floodwater in Kachhi, Sibi and Bolan districts.
In the worst affected Jhal Magsi district, the Army started relief operations and rescued a large number of people who were trapped in the flood-hit areas. The Army shifted the flood-affected people to safe places and provided food and other relief goods to them.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority and other departments are facing difficulties in carrying out rescue and relief operations due to continued rains in Nasirabad, Sibi and Bolan districts.
Thousands marooned by deluge; four killed
Efforts were under way to restore traffic between Quetta and other parts of the country. However, harsh weather created hurdles in restoring the road link. A portion of a bridge at main Quetta-Sukkur highway in the Bibi Nani area was washed away by heavy flood in River Bolan that kept on swelling as the catchment area of the river has been receiving downpour for the last two days.
Spokesman for the Balochistan government Liaquat Ali Shahwani said that helicopters of the Army and the provincial government could not be used for rescue and relief operations due to heavy rains. He said Gwadar and some other parts of Makran division were still cut off from Karachi and Quetta due to the damage caused to the main bridge at the Coastal Highway.
He said roads were also damaged in Basima, Hoshab and Zhob areas. However, he said the traffic between Sibi and Kohlu had been restored. Pakistan Railway has launched a shuttle service between Quetta and Sibi to facilitate the people who have been stuck up in Sibi and Quetta due to suspension of traffic on Quetta-Sibi highway.
The spokesman said the death toll had reached eight in the rain- related incidents as two more people, including a woman, died in Wadh and Baghbana areas of Khuzdar district. Four people swept away in the Kart area when Bolan river washed their mud houses away.
He said the Met office had predicted more rains in different areas of Balochistan in the next 24 hours. It said in the last two days 246mm rain was recorded in Balochistan. According to the Provincial Disaster Management Authority of Balochistan, 70 persons trapped in flash flood flows of Mula River in Khuzdar district were rescued by the District Disaster Management Authority and Levies Force.
Army and Navy teams rescued Hindu families stranded in Wangu Hills, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.
Army and Navy rescue teams were assisting the civil administration to rescue stranded people to safer places. Meal was served to 1,000 stranded people whereas road links Jhal Magsi-Gandawah main colonies were reconnected and Pasi Bridge was opened for traffic.
“In Jhal Magsi, all Hindu families stranded in Wangu hills have been rescued to safer places after eight hours long rescue operation. The highway N-65 was blocked near Bibi Nani bridge and Pinjra Bridge due to high level of water. The main gas transmission line has also been damaged near Bibi Nani bridge.” It went on to mention that due to rains and hill torrents various roads including Quetta -Jacobabad , Gwadar- Karachi and Sibi- Kohlu were blocked at various places.
In Dadu district of Sindh, Army relief and rescue teams continued their efforts to rescue thousands of marooned villagers in the Kachho area for a second consecutive day. Irrigation officials told visiting Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah around 100 more villages had been washed away over the last 24 hours by hill torrents coming from the Khirthar Mountain range.
The deluge has already breached the flood protective dyke (FP Bund) of Nai Gaj Dam at seven places causing huge flooding in the region and sweeping away around 500 villages . The entire region has been cut off from the rest of the province since the start of the current spell of monsoon downpour on Thursday.
Much of the population — several thousand families — of Sawaro, Chhinni and Kamal Khan union councils in Johi taluka has to be moved to safe places. There are unconfirmed reports of drowning of some people .
The Army teams have moved scores of families to safe places with the help of helicopters and boats.
Meanwhile, breach plugging work at RD-75 point of FP bund was started on Sunday evening but machinery and stone pitching material could not be transported to any of the six other breach sites — between RD-41 and RD-50 — where the deluge has eroded dykes along the bund.
Several hundred cattle heads and household items of the affected villages have reportedly been swept away while around 2,000 acres of agricultural land and 25 fish farms have been destroyed.
At the Right Bank Outfall Drain-II (RBOD-II), an official told local reporters that 250,000 cusec flow was passing through FP Bund towards Manchhar Lake which was causing extensive and multiple breaches. APP adds: Sialkot city received heavy rain which turned weather pleasant.
All the areas and major roads were inundated.
The Met office has forecast more heavy rains in Sialkot region and even in all the catchment areas during the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the Federal Flood Commission (FFC) has said all main rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej) are flowing in “normal flow condition” with no flood situation. Under the influence of prevailing weather system, Flood Forecasting Division, Lahore, has predicted scattered thunderstorm/rain of moderate intensity with isolated heavy falls over Rawalpindi and Gujranwala divisions of Punjab, Malakand, Hazara and D.I. Khan divisions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Makran division of Balochistan.
Isolated thunderstorm/rain may also occur over rest of the Punjab, south and southeastern Sindh, KP and Balochistan during the same period. Sharp peaks up to low to medium flood Level in River Jhelum (Inflows at Mangla reservoir) and mild flows in the hill torrents of Dera Ghazi Khan division have also been predicted during the next 72 hours.
APP adds: Sialkot city received heavy rain which turned weather pleasant.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2020